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Eckardtesian Thought: I think, therefore I write . . .
4/13/2023 0 Comments
Vigil of Easter
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The earth quakes, the rocks are rent, the graves are opened. An angel appears like lightning. The earth gives birth, like a woman in travail. A new creation is born. It is a rebirth. For the earth had been dying ever since the fall of man at the creation. But today Christ steps forth out of the tomb, and the keepers become like dead men. For death cannot hold the Lord of Life. It’s over. It’s done. The world has died; the world is reborn. Man is restored. It is finished. For man had at last paid the price of his sin. The price is paid, all of it. Man is redeemed, his sin is atoned by the death of man, as it is written, Ye shall die. God warned in the beginning that if man took the forbidden fruit he would die. And so at last the payment has come due; the ultimate and final death has been accomplished. Man died the eternal death which was his due reward, on Good Friday. Christ the man, our Savior, died the ultimate death of all mankind. And the death has happened. But Christ is also God, and so he could not stay dead, for in him was life, and the life was the light of men.
And so he stepped forth out of the grave on the third day, as he had said. The stone is rolled back. The law, written on stones, is rendered impotent, and can no longer kill. For man was put to death; and man has risen from death, alleluia!
And the women who heard these tidings departed quickly, for they were afraid. They ran; they panicked; they sought shelter from this terrible thing, this astonishment; they were terrified. But then at last Jesus appeared to them, and they believed with joy.
What must have happened, if we compare the four Gospel accounts, is that at first they fled and said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid – so says St. Mark. But then Mary Magdalene lingered and went back, and Jesus appeared to her, and then she believed – so says St. John. And then evidently Jesus appeared to all these women, and said, All Hail! and they came back and held him by the feet and worshipped him – so says St. Matthew. And then they ran to tell the disciples, but their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.
For now the earth itself teetered between the old and the new and between death and life; that is, between the old, dead creation and the new, living, eternal creation. So; it took them awhile for any of them to believe the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. But at length they all believed, and their joy no man took from them. Now they knew. Now at last they were given strength to pass from the old creation to the new creation; and in the new creation there is no sorrow, no doubting, no death, but only life and abiding joy.
And now you, too, are given strength to pass over with them. Believe in this earthquake. Believe in the crossing over from death to life. Believe in everlasting life in this Man who has stepped forth out of the grave.
And if you can believe, then you can have joy and set sorrow aside. If you can believe, you will have learned the secret of contentment; you will have learned, in whatsoever state you are, therewith to be content, as the Apostle Paul declared that he had learned this secret. Whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty of in want. For, said he, I can do all things through him who strengthens me. For he who strengthens me has conquered even death and the grave. Christ has already stepped forth out of the grave. It can no longer hold him, nor can it hold anyone who is in him by faith. If you can believe it, and embrace it, not only now, but in every circumstance in life, then therein lies the key to all your endurance of every evil. The key is simply this: Christ our Redeemer is risen from the dead.
Can you believe this? Are you able? Listen to it! Listen! Hear it! For herein lies the ability you need. In this very word of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Hear it! And so hear that the old is passed and done away. The fast is over, the Feast has come. And the feast is eternal! This feast, right here. This Body and Blood of him who died but is not dead. This redemption price that has been paid for you, not given to you. Death is dead; life is new and everlasting, and in the eating and drinking here, you receive it. In Christ who is risen from the dead, man is restored; the price of sin is paid. Man’s sin is atoned and he is free, for Christ has died. But now Christ lives, never again to die. This is your Savior, this is your Lord and your God, alive and not dead. And whosoever believes in him shall never die, as he himself promised; and we, his people, at glad Easter, may confidently assert with David, I shall not die but live.
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Sermon for Easter Vigil
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