April 08, 2007

In Christ alone my hope is found

We proclaim that Christ has been raised from the dead.
So how can you say there is no resurrection of the dead?

If there is no resurrection of the dead,
then not even Christ has been raised.

If Christ has not been raised,
our message is meaningless.

If Christ has not been raised,
Your faith is fruitless.

We slander God by claiming he raised Christ,
because if there is no resurrection of the dead,
then Christ has not been raised either.

And if Christ has not been raised,
then your sins are not forgiven.

And if we placed our hope in Christ, and he has not been raised,
we are the most pathetic of people.

Why imitate his death, burial, and resurrection in baptism?
Why put our lives at risk every day?
Why face the lions in the arena?
Why live for anything but the pleasures of the now?

Wake up!

Christ has indeed been raised from the dead!

And therefore we are not pathetic,
and therefore our sins are forgiven,
and therefore our faith is fruitful,
and therefore our message is momentous.

And therefore we, too, will be raised.

A grain of wheat will not become a living plant unless it dies first,
and that is how it is with the resurrection of the dead.

What goes into the ground is perishable;
what comes out is imperishable.
The old body is natural;
the new body is spiritual.

The first man, Adam, was given life;
the second Adam, Christ, is the life-giver.
The first Adam was a natural man;
the second Adam is a spiritual man.
The first Adam came from the dust;
the second Adam came from heaven.
And today we bear the dusty image of the first Adam from earth,
but tomorrow we will bear the spiritual image of the second Adam from heaven.

When the Last Trumpet sounds,
the dead will be changed to the living,
the perishable to the imperishable,
and the mortal to the immortal.

Where is your victory, Death?
Christ is the victor.
Thanks be to God!

So stand firm!
Do the work of the Lord, knowing this,
that in him, your work is not in vain:

For he is risen indeed.

(An Easter meditation on 1 Corinthians 15, hastily and loosely paraphrased while listening to the gorgeous In Christ Alone by Margaret Becker, Máire Brennan, and Joanne Hogg. This chapter was expounded upon at a sunrise service this morning on Parliament Hill, and the rhetorician in me was struck by Paul's use of tropes, particularly antithesis and parallelism. I wanted to try and bring out the Apostle's powerful argument - for a powerful truth - with a little exaggeration and reorganization of his structure. If bad poetry isn't your cup of tea, be sure to read Rebecca on what the Resurrection means for believers.)