Sunday, March 31, 2013

Everything Changes?

Happy Easter everybody - He is risen!
I have a confession to make...

From a personal perspective, I'm a little disappointed in the Church of England's choice of hashtag to promote its Easter tweets - #everythingchanges.

Now let me make it clear, I'm not going to be aggressively snarky about it, I'm absolutely grateful that the C of E bothers to engage on Twitter and has actually put some thought into a campaign at all. I also completely theologically agree with what I perceive to be at the heart of that statement. Easter is a game changer; as the sun dawned on that fateful first century Sunday morning, humankind went from being outcast... to family member, darkness... to light, death... to life. The hashtag absolutely reflects themes that prevail throughout Easter.

So what exactly bugs me about it?

Well for me, it is primarily an aesthetic thing. I don't like to think of myself as fundamentalist and in fact if anything, in a broad church I've turned running with the foxes and hunting with the hounds into something of art form. However #everythingchanges aside from being culturally reminiscent of a cheesy Take That song, feels a little vague and understated to me. Without something tying it into the events of Easter Sunday, it's easy for people who are not tweeting on topic to come in and subvert it (either accidentally or purposefully). This aside, we live in a world of constant flux... everything changes all the time; you might not think it if you look out of the window and still see snow and frost, but everything - the weather, our position in time and space and the fundamental elements that drive our universe - matter and energy are in a constant state of change.

When Jesus happened (I'm not sure I even wish to describe it as "what happened to Jesus" because He was the catalyst), it was an event like nothing ever seen before. People had been raised from the dead before (3 by prophets in the Old Testament and 2 by Jesus himself), but in those cases it was merely a case of the odometer being set back a few notches. Those people lived out the lives that had been given back to them... but in time, death would return to claim them.
Christ's resurrection was very different:

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
John 10:17-18
Jesus was resurrected by his own authority he didn't just temporarily survive death... he went beyond it, travelling through it and coming out on the other side:
"Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.  For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.  The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God."
Romans 6:8-10
Death no longer has mastery over him.... and the amazing thing is that Romans tells us  in that same excerpt that His death covers the cost of the wrongs we have committed... and that we have the unconditional offer to live his risen life. 1 Corinthians tells us that death has lost its sting... yes it still claims us from this life, but its effects are only temporal and not eternal.
So yes the rules, the game, the very nature of humankind's destiny have changed. Yet the changes are so much immeasurably higher, wider, deeper and truer than anything our humanity could conjure, ask or imagine... that to just say everything changes feels somewhat like living in a world where Apollo 11 is blasting off for the moon in the days of the cavemen... who as they celebrate the invention of their stone tools and wheels and fire, categorise the wonder they have just witnessed piercing the clouds in the same bracket.
So yes I'm sure that #everythingchanges will be a numeric success and I pray for it and wish it well in terms of outreach.
But let's remember that the resurrection of Christ is a concept so mind blowingly wonderful, with such a powerful message... that we need to make every effort to convey it in terms that do justice to its concept.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The ideas and thoughts represented in this page's plain text are unless otherwise stated reserved for the author. Please feel free to copy anything that inspires you, but provide a link to the original author when doing so.
Share your links easily.