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Tuesday, April 3 2012
This Sunday marks the celebration of Easter, and what is considered to be the cornerstone of the Christian faith. There are lots of various views on the Resurrection, like was Jesus bodily raised, or was it simply the hope of the early Church, but not to be taken seriously? The early record of the Christian Scriptures, as Paul wrote to the Corinthians in his first letter, chapter 15, written in the mid-50's AD, is that Jesus' resurrection was not only unexpected but undeniable. This became such a central tenet of the first century disciples so that, as tradition holds, all but one of the disciples (the apostle John) would go on to face a martyr's death for what they believed to be the truth, even when it cost them their earthly lives.
This implications of this is staggering in terms of the reliability of the faith. Listen to how Blaise Pascal, the 17th century philosopher, expressed it in his meditations called the Pensees:
"The hypothesis that the Apostles were imposters is quite absurd. Follow it out to the end and imagine these twelve men meeting after Jesus' death and conspiring to say that he had risen from the dead. This means attacking all the powers that be. The human heart is singularly susceptible to fickleness, to change, to promises, to bribery. One of them had only to deny his story under these inducements. or still more because of possible imprisonments, tortures, and death, and they would all have been lost. Follow that out..." (310)
For those of us who put their faith in the Resurrection of Jesus, whom Paul calls the Second Adam, the One who gets us back to Paradise, the Garden of Eden, death is simply a door to Another World. When C. S. Lewis's wife Joy Gresham died, he penned the poem, Remember, (see the inset picture) that speaks of her and our hope for life beyond the grave.
"Here the whole world (stars, water, air,
And field, and forest, as they were
Reflected in a single mind)
Like cast off clothes was left behind
In ashes, yet with hope that she,
Re-born from holy poverty
In Lenten lands, hereafter may
Resume them on her Easter Day."
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