Pastor's Corner

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Behold the Man Risen!

On the seventh day, His work finished, God rested from all His labor. In the place where He was crucified, there was a garden, so they placed His body there, in a new tomb. And the secret disciple, Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus, who tried to crack a joke when Jesus told him to be born again, brought such a ridiculous amount of myrrh and aloes that - in a Gospel where no superfluous details are included, only those necessary that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ and that by believing you might have life in His name - the Holy Spirit caused the pen of the evangelist to record the weight: seventy-five pounds. 

This is the body of God, so the men do after His death what they were afraid to do when He was alive. They adore, venerate, and show reverence and respect for the dead Savior. The body is no mere accessory to the soul to be discarded in death. Flesh is not inferior to spirit. Bodies matter. And, though now dead, these were the hands that healed, the lips that preached, the feet that walked miles to teach, the eyes that looked and loved, the guts that moved with compassion. 

As Jesus rests in the cold, compassionless sleep of death, fulfilling the eternal Sabbath, His disciples work. They give Him the best burial they can, with exorbitantly expensive and excessive spices. Price doesn’t matter. There will never be another body so unlikely dead nor another body that nevertheless deserves such posthumous reverence. This is the body of God.

On the third day, everything changes forever! Jesus had said about Good Friday before it ever happened, “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.” So now He does. No other man possesses this authority, to lay down His own life and then to take it back up.

His lungs drew breath anew; His heart resumed beating. His marrow produced all new red blood cells to flow in His veins again. His brain roared to life. His eyelids opened, and, once His now living hands wriggled free from the grave wrapping and removed the face cloth and His eyes saw again. He got up, and He left His grave clothes behind. The stone that had been heavy with creation's sadness at the death of her Creator was rolled away.

Mary thought He was the gardener. What an odd confusion. How did she make that mistake? What was He doing? Had He stopped to pull some weeds or prune some bushes? She wasn't wrong, of course. He is a Gardener, but of an ancient Garden of Eden and of the new Eden to come.

Jesus' resurrection is not just for His sake. As His death was for us, who are bodily dying as the consequence of our sin, now His resurrection is also for us, over whom death was thought to have the final word. Jesus rose bodily; His body and soul were knit back together eternally. And He promises the same bodily resurrection for us - not some disembodied rest for our souls with Him. Our lungs will breathe again. Our hearts will beat warm and strong anew. Our eyes will see; our ears will hear. Our lips will be freed from their lifeless rigor mortis to join the unending Te Deum of the eternal Bride of the resurrected Christ, His Holy Church. Our bodies will rise, as His is risen.

In Christ,

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