Have you ever forgotten your Wedding Anniversary?
How’d that work out for you? :)
Some things are just too precious to forget, and a wedding anniversary might be fairly high up on that list. Just ask any husband who has forgotten one. But some anniversaries are even more significant than others. For example, we mark 25 years with the title “Silver Anniversary” and a 50th with “Golden”. These are particularly significant milestones that we keep watch for.
Jesus promised that He would return for His Bride (John 14:1-4), which is to say for all those who have responded in faith to Him and His gracious, reconciling life, death and resurrection for us. He also told us we are to watch expectantly for His imminent return. “… Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matt 24:42). “What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!'" (Mark 13:37). Whilst every day is a day to “watch”, some days present more significant milestones than others. Like a “Golden Anniversary”, they should heighten our awareness of His promised return.
2017 is particularly full of some days and seasons where our “watching” should be roused to a keen focus. Consider the following:
Readings: Psalm 16 / Luke 24:1-12 / 1 Cor. 15:12-58
In the minds of most of us western Christians, Easter Sunday and the Resurrection often take a back seat to other holidays or theologically significant events in the life of Jesus. For example, Christmas is a much more “popular” Holy day than is Easter. Similarly the meaning of the death of Jesus Christ upon the Cross takes precedence for most over the meaning of His Resurrection. And yet, without the Resurrection both His Birth and His Death are no more significant than any other birth or death. They fail to achieve their end without the Resurrection. Importantly, they fail to reach us if there is no Resurrection.
This morning I want us to be reminded of three aspects, past, present and future, of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and what it means to us. In the past aspect we see the Vindication of the Son and the Verification of the Father. In the present aspect, how the Resurrection frees us from our fear of death. And in the future aspect, how His resurrection is the guarantee of our own resurrection.
I. Vindication of the Son/ Verification of the Father.
When we look at the Resurrection from the past tense aspect we see the vindication of the Son and the Verification of the Father. The fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead is proof that the Son lived a sinless life of dependence and verifies the Father’s approval that the curse of death incurred by the Fall of Adam has been fully born and overcome for us by Jesus Christ.
When God explained to Adam and Eve in the Garden that they would die if they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and evil, He was not so much erecting a legal/penal framework as He was declaring the state of reality. In other words, if Adam and Eve sought to live independent of Him they would die. That’s just reality. It’s the way the universe is wired. For example, if a fish tries to live independent of water, it will die. Not as a penalty, but because it was not created to live outside the environment of water. Or take for example what happens if you jump out of an airplane, independent of a parachute; you will die. Yes, you have broken a law, but would your death be a penalty? Would your violation of the law result in you being judged, sentenced and executed in a “jurisprudence” penal framework? Would not your death rather be the result of having violated a basic Law of the universe…the Law of Gravity?
God warned Adam and Eve that they would die, not that he would kill them. This is very important, for the notion that the atoning death of Jesus Christ was to...
On an autumn afternoon walk with my wife and resident artist, our conversation turned to the last 10 years since Trinitarian Theology dawned on our understanding in a meaningful way. Every layer of thought, realized nuance and experience over the last decade has helped us unpack a little more of the stunning reality of our adoption and participation in the Triune Life of God.
"We're Flemish paintings, not Alla Prima." she said. My “colour-blind” response prompted her further explanation: "Alla Prima paintings are usually created in one sitting, wet paint into wet paint, fresh colour laid down all at once for a beautiful, immediate finished work. Flemish paintings are the opposite. They require a series of careful, patient layers, each building on the last. A detailed drawing goes down first, then an under painting, a complete grey layer and finally colour. Colour may include many transparent layers before the final varnish is applied. Each stage must dry carefully for several days before the next and then months of drying are needed before the varnish. The result is a depth of jewel-like colour that is just stunning. A glorious luminosity is achieved with this layering process over time."
She went on to say, “So, most of us are Flemish paintings. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit also do stunning ‘Alla Prima’ work with glorious results and sudden transformation. But they are always patiently at work on the ‘Flemish layers’ of our heart's understanding.”
This metaphor beautifully captures the fact that God, in the ‘artistic recovery’ of His marred image in us, is not in a hurry. And neither should we be. His masterpiece requires our free participation. And that participation involves the healing of our sight through a believing heart and a renewed mind, both of which simply take time.
A compilation of 8 songs has now been added to the Listen page that echo the Trinitarian themes of Discovery, Simplicity, Zeal, Joy, Commitment, Sacrament, Vision and Contemplation. A half hour concert awaits you. Enjoy!