The Deepest Theological Statement is only 4 words!
Devotional Thought of the Day:
Alleluia!(1) He Is Risen! (2)
14 And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. 15 And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. 16 And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless, and you are still guilty of your sins. 18 In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! 19 And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world.
1 Corinthians 15:14-19 (NLT)
What would it mean if Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus, had not taken place? Would it mean just one more corpse, insignificant among the statistics of world history, or would there be more to it? Well, if there were no Resurrection, the story of Jesus would have ended with Good Friday. His body would have decayed, and he would have become a has-been. But that would mean that God does not take initiatives in history, that he is either unable or unwilling to touch this world of ours, our human living and dying. And that in turn would mean that love is futile, nugatory, an empty and vain promise. It would mean that there is no judgment and no justice. It would mean that the moment is all that counts and that right belongs to the cunning, the crafty and those without consciences.
There would be no judgment. Many people, and by no means only wicked people, would welcome that because they confuse judgment with petty calculation and give more room to fear than to a trusting love. (3)
62 Our Lord did not confine himself to telling us that he loved us. He showed it to us with deeds, with his whole life. What about you?
Some people think theologians live in ivory towers, deeply disconnected with the world. I will admit some of us do, and more often than not we get accused of it. Surely we go off on tangents, and make little details bigger than they ought to be. In doing so, we find ourselves blinded by these little things, to the greatest of theological truths.
One of the reasons I love being a pastor in the Lutheran Church is our habit that Easter isn’t just celebrated for 1 Sunday, but for 40 days, and then every Sunday after that for the entire year. The reason it is important to me is that I have to be reminded, and remind you of one simple truth, one we say over and over for these weeks.
Alleluia! He is risen!
(if you know the response, go ahead and say it… you know you want to.. and it is good for us that you do so!)
There are no words deeper than these theologically! (There are some equally powerful, but hearing these you understand them, and vice-versa) To overlook them turns our religion from a glorious, incredible mystery, into simply the most pathetic thing on earth! To overlook them is well described in Pope Benedict XVI’s words in blue above. For if Jesus doesn’t rise, God didn’t act in the incarnation. He didn’t act in the life of Jesus lived in our midst, tempted at every point as we are. And God didn’t act in Christ’s death…. which assuredly He did.
And I love Benedict’s words, which we don’t both with the church because we confuse God’s judgment! We think of His judgment as some sort of cosmic balance sheet. Were we good enough; did our sins reach the point of no return, is our brokenness beyond God’s patience, and therefore, He might be unwilling to deal with it. What happens then is we take this fear to the extreme, dismiss the God whom we fear, and create gods of things that help us ignore that which we fear.
We run from God, instead of understanding that because of the resurrection we can run to Him! We can trust in God to use the power that raised Christ from the dead to raise us! (see Romans 6 for an excellent description of this!) We can trust this love of God, which gets involved in our lives, to the most hidden details, and starts bringing about the healing, patiently overwhelming us with His love.
He doesn’t just say He loves us, He shows it, by making the resurrection known, by revealing the depth of His plan, the purpose of His covenants, to those He no longer counts as minions, but as his beloved friends. (John 15:15)
This is all wrapped up in those words; He is risen! We can meditate on that for hours, for days, and we should. For from these words of life we find our life, our hope, our very being.
This is what our religion is based on; this is what is the foundation to why a Christian trusts in God. As Benedict XVI, perhaps the greatest theologian in the 20th century wrote:
All this makes clear what Easter does mean: God has acted. History does not go on aimlessly. Justice, love, truth—these are realities, genuine reality. God loves us; he comes to meet us. (3)
Alleluia, He is Risen!
the Lord is with you!
(1) Alleluia simply means “Praise God! (YWHW)
(2) This is our Easter cry, taken from Matthew 28:6 ” 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. ” Matthew 28:6 (NLT)
(3) Ratzinger, J. (1992). Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. (I. Grassl, Ed., M. F. McCarthy & L. Krauth, Trans.) (p. 126). San Francisco: Ignatius Press.
(4) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 444-446). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Posted on April 16, 2016, in Augsburg and Trent, Devotions, Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI, The Forge, Theology in Practice and tagged joy, judgment, life, Pope Benedict XVI, Resurrection, St. Josemaria Escriva, theology, walking with Jesus. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.