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The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
I Corinthians xv.26

On Easter, we stare death in the face and see it for what it isn't: not the end. We assert — oh, more than that, we sing and we shout — the most impossible thing: that the apparent utter finality of the tomb is the absolute portal of life.

In the face of all evidence to the contrary, we declare that the Lord of Life has risen, the first fruits of them that slept. We accept that 'our flesh in hope shall rest; and for a season, slumber', but only 'till trump from east to west, shall wake the dead in number'.

Our faith rests on this day, that garden, that tomb. This day is what makes sense of our lives and confirms that every life has meaning. Nothing is ever lost — whether fragments of a miraculous meal or the fall of a dying sparrow — and all will, someday, come home.

Angels staring death in the face and rejoicingThe way, the truth, and the life: if we hold to that, then surely whatever separates us from each other, from other Anglicans, from other Christians, can be put aside for a time. The rattle and noise of the world will intrude in the Great Fifty Days of Eastertide and the transcendant joy of this day will begin to be diluted. We'll be inclined to pay attention to the latest rumour about who will be invited to the Lambeth Conference or feel righteous indignation about ______. We'll find good reasons to respond hotly to something on a mailing list. We'll slide into living life ordinarily, in ordinary time, even though Eastertide is anything but that.

We shall try to resist normalcy for a while, if we can, hard as that is. We'll cling to the vita nuova that comes with this day and determine, once again, to dare to be Christian — the Lord being our helper.

A hazelnut may help with that. We'll keep one in our pocket and take it out, now and then, to play with during these Great Fifty Days.

Also in this he shewed a little thing of the bigness of hasel nut, in the palm of my hand, and it was as round as a Ball. I looked there upon with the eyes of my understanding, and thought what may this be?  And it was generally answered thus; it is all that is made.

I marveled how it could last, for me thought it might suddenly have fallen to nought for little.

And I was answered in my understanding; it lasteth and ever shalle, for God loveth it. And so alle things have a being by the love of God*.

'It lasteth and ever shalle'. So rejoice, dear friends, for the Lord of Life is risen and 'merrily merrily shall we live now'.

See you next week, as always. Meanwhile, practice resurrection!

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Last updated: 8 April 2007

*Dame Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love

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