The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Sunday

(Video by my friend, the redoubtable Tim Martin; "Christ Our Passover" by William McFarlane performed by the St. Barts choirs led by the inimitable William K. Trafka)

I don't feel I have the wit or wisdom to better this; from Charles Gore, The Deity of Christ, Sermon II (1921):
There is no tragedy in the world more moving than the tragedy of the failure of these disciples' faith. We ought not to be amazed at it: it is the same with innumerable human souls. What is it that makes faith difficult, that glorious faith of the Bible and the church? Well, it is the oppressive sense of weakness in our own souls and in the world about us. These glorious promises seem to come up dead against a brick wall. The brick wall which seems to resist this faith is the brick wall of seeming failure within and without, and the appalling weakness of God and His cause. So it is that there are multitudes—both orthodox and unbelieving multitudes—whose faith (in the real sense of faith) has failed under this tragedy of God's seeming weakness. The cry of Christ, "My God, my God, why didst thou forsake me?"—the utter seeming failure and shame is too much for them. They cannot believe in Him; they cannot see the glory hidden in the suffering Christ. So it was with the disciples.

And then you know how the great tranformation came about. He rose again the third day from the dead. On that third morning they found the tomb empty. I think, if you are prepared to believe in God and in history, you must believe that they found that tomb empty. And more than that, you must believe that, only a few weeks after the desperate failure of their courage and their faith, you find that same band of men quite tranformed in spirit. They were not imaginative men, not visionary men, but sturdy working men of an unimaginative kind, as the records show us; and they were men differing in character, given to jealousies among themselves, which Jesus rebuked. Well, this whole group you see in a few days totally transformed, from the weak, vacillating failures they had proved, into a group which can confront the world for a seemingly impossible task with unswerving and undying courage.

What was it that had brought about the great change? They all gave the same testimony. This change in themselves had been wrought by an experience which had forced itself upon them—the experience of the appearances of the Risen Jesus. The tomb was empty; they had wondered; but He had come among them here and there—not as in His old natural body when He had lived in one place, in Jerusalem or Galilee, and had walked from place to place like any other man, but as one who had passed to a higher sphere and yet could materialize Himself amongst them so as even to eat and drink with them. And it was all with one object—to make it clear that through failure and through death He was risen, and was passing to the glory of God at the right hand of the Father. And so at last they saw Him go, and they faced the world with a frank, indisputable courage bred of the conviction that "Jesus was Lord."
May all of us who follow the Way be likewise strengthened and emboldened this Easter Season.

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