Scandal and Eastertide

Rembrandt’s depiction of the resurrection of Jesus.

“Believing in Christ’s resurrection…does not mean affirming a fact. It means being possessed by the life-giving Spirit and participating in the powers of the age to come.” — Jürgen Moltmann

The scandal of Christianity is a scandal of singularity. Such singularity that resists all universalisation, all reason, all genres and species of logic. Christianity departs from all ‘sacred logic’ that separates “the world” from “the divine” — the gods no longer live above, there is not an order of intelligible, immutable forms: God became flesh, and entered into the depths of that being, into death. God did this in a singular human history, in a singular human personality, in Jesus the Nazarene.

The scandal grows, as the history of Jesus unfolds and culminates in his arrest, trial, crucifixion and death. God dies. God did not enter the world to rule, or to even make the divine universally known. In Jesus, God spoke a human language, full of its ambiguity, frailty, untranslatability. In Jesus, God enters into a specific place, into a specific time in the history of the universe. Born of a specific woman, raised in a specific family, culture, and political situation.

In entering into time, God enters into creation to renew it. After the resurrection, in one account, Jesus is mistaken as the gardener: his being is one of care, the renewer of all creation. This is not something that occurs in the future, in some sort of end of the world time. The time of the world is ending, as the new creation is being born. This is Easter, this is resurrection. Being in the world, Jesus is not of the world, not of this world, but a world and an age to come. And through his resurrection, we are all invited to participate in the bringing of that world and that age. Behold, St Paul says, if anyone is in Christ, if anyone follows his way and lives in but not of the world, there is the new creation. Everything becomes new.

That is what Easter means. That is what resurrection means. The world, the old world of pain and suffering, separation and death, is passing away. The new creation is coming, is already here. Death has been defeated, for God has entered into it and brought life out of death. Life that is singular, a scandal, because it is not found in the being of the world. It is non-worldly, yet it is in the world, striving for justice, peace, reconciliation; not as the world gives, but as Christ gives. Easter is a scandal, for it does not fit into any schema; it does not fit into any logic or any metaphysical or philosophical system. But it fits into the new creation. It ushers it in.

— Jeremy


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