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Vicar's Musings for Easter Day

31 March, 2013

"Alice laughed. 'There's no use trying,' she said. 'One can't believe impossible things.' 'I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. 'When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.'"

In one sense Jesus' resurrection is one of those impossible things. How can anyone rise from the dead? It defies logic, not to mention medical science. And yet here we are today, celebrating Easter Day along with a third of the world's population, more than 2.1 billion people. Theologians have of course grappled with the doctrine of the resurrection for centuries. At the risk of reductionism there are today two well-reasoned approaches. Bishop Tom Wright represents one of these arguing that we can make a definitive historical statement: "that the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth was empty because his body had been transformed into a new mode of physicality." At the other end of the Anglican theological spectrum Bishop Jack Spong is less literal in his understanding of the words of scripture: "Ultimately it is the wordless experience beyond every verbal form that we seek." Personally I lean more towards a metaphorical rather than the literal understanding, but I am not sure that it matters as much as we might suppose which of these competing theological views is right. What is of profound importance, however, is the outworking of our beliefs in our lives. Do I live the truth of the resurrection? Does the Risen Christ abide in me, and I in him? Is there an integrity to my faith?

The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster

Illustration for Easter Day Musings

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