CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY, HE IS RISEN!

CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD,

TRAMPLING DOWN DEATH BY DEATH,

AND UPON THOSE IN THE TOMBS BESTOWING LIFE!

This message has been proclaimed by the Church since earliest antiquity. It is the cornerstone of our Faith, that upon which everything else depends. St. Paul writes,

Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection from the dead then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have tesified of God that He raised up Christ, Whom He did not raise up--if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.

Even as there were those in the First-Century Church who had a "better idea than God" of what was or could be real or not-real, reasonable or not-reasonable, there are those now who would lead us away from the straight path of the Faith-once-given, into dark and twisty places where we might, if their master has his way, become lost.

We will suffer no dearth (ah, what a blessed dearth it would be!) of popular magazine articles offering us the "newest cutting-edge theology" (which is the same "newest, cutting-edge theology" they've been hawking every year for about the last thirty years) that proclaims the "sacred mythology" of the Resurrection. There will be sermons from the pulpits of buildings that still have Crosses on them, telling us that the historical fact of the actual physical Resurrection of Jesus from actual physical death, is "unimportant;" that what is important is the "meaning," or the "message," or the "Great Truths That Are Symbolized," or some such nonsense.

They may hear that Jesus "swooned;" that he wasn't really dead, and that he lay in a coma and revived on the third day because the tomb was chilly. Or something. Anything  but the Truth. Because if Christ is truly risen, He is truly God--which means rhere truly is a God, Who has revealed Himself to us--which means, horribly, that there really is a higher Authority than My Opinion.  

The people who leave these buildings believing what they have been told will feel they have offered Christian worship in a Christian church and that they are Christians.

And they will be wrong.

To be a Christian is to have committed one's life to Christ: the real One, not a powerless counterfeit who, even being God, is unable to transcend physical death. To be a Christian church is to teach the Christian Faith, not some silly substitute that has accommodated itself to the supposings of an empty and secular world.

Christianity is something. If we try to make it up into something different, it becomes just that: not Chrisrtianity, but something different.

Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death; and upon those in the tombs, bestowing life!

Accept no substitutes.

Paschal Blessings!

Fr. Jim +

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He is risen!                         

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”  Luke 24:1-7

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