Friday, 15 May 2009

Domesticating the Death and Resurrection of Jesus

The shocking nature of the death and resurrection of Jesus leads to the temptation of domesticating its impact. A popular method in this regard is making his death and resurrection one more example or expression (no matter how important) of an inner spiritual principle, historical process, or cycle of nature. Using cocoons as a metaphor for the death and resurrection, while of some use perhaps with the kids, has the effect of making his death and resurrection understandable. And it is a short step from this to the resurrection of Jesus becoming the metaphor of a natural human capacity, inherent within each and every one of us. Accompanying this move is the superficial acceptance of death as the door we must go through, or something of that kind. None of this takes into account the finality of death, the annihilation of Jesus' identity and God on the cross, and the revolution in thinking that the resurrection of this Jesus brings.

In a similar way there is the temptation to make the dying and rising Jesus a symbol of a great historical process within history itself. Again, just too easy. A little more difficult to avoid is the spiritual 'law' of death and resurrection. While the dying and rising Jesus is a the model of a lives now, Jesus' death and resurrection is not an example of this spiritual principle. If there is a spiritual principle, Jesus is it. (The same applies to making the dying and rising of Jesus an expression of the nature of the trinitarian God. This is all well and good, except that he is not an expression of it, but is it.) and once we make Jesus' death and resurrection the principle which we follow, it becomes a lot more scarier, with the sting of death truly to be confronted, and the despair of the cross a reality not easily glossed over.

1 comment:

  1. And yet, only by doing so do we find the true hope that can be found in the Cross and Resurrection. Eternal life! Which we see as St.Paul's says in Jesus being the first fruits of the New Creation (Eternal Life). Which of course is far more radical and far more difficult that simply grabbing hold of some historical process or spiritual principal.