Bob Cornner

Bob Cornner
Visting St. Andrew's Torrance

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Great Power of the Resurrection

If the disciples and followers were acting in the "great power of the resurrection" how is such power different from the power we human beings act in? It appears that economic insecurity drives and motivates us. It appears that one sign of the great power of the resurrection is shown in the way these early followers lived out of "one heart and soul." which is, I believe, the Holy Spirit filled to overflowing in a human community. The outward sign of the resurrection was the way they viewed ownership. Private ownership of things was absent from their understanding of life.

Acts 4:32-35

Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. The photo was taken just before we started our Good Friday liturgy. Etched in the window is an icon of Jesus standing between two children who are offering him flowers, but the brightness of the rising sun this morning flooded that image and only light beams of bluish light burst out from this opening to the world.

The cross seems rather small amidst all of the white wall and wood Table and that bright light flooding into the church. Good Friday can often seem dark and rather hopeless. But the work of the cross is not an end, but a beginning or the mid-point in God’s work of creation. Human freedom is a gift from God. Human freedom is also the source of much pain and suffering. The cross demonstrates both the gift and the pain of suffering of creation as it breaks into a world whose freedom is used to rid itself of God in favor of our own desires and devices. The cross is dwarfed by the outpouring love and life of God that the cross sets loose on the world.

Human freedom has been preserved by the God who conferred it. Human suffering which has come from the way we have chosen to use our freedom has been revealed as a choice and not the way things have to be. God has entered into our freedom with his freedom and offered us love, mercy, justice, and redemption for the larger and grander work of creation as it continues towards the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world that is coming even now.

It is God’s work, this new creation. God’s work is not to save us from his good creation by whisking us away. God’s work is to give us time to practice the art of living freely in a world in which God is finally welcomed. As the great Easter hymn says: “All that now is fallen raise to life again.” (see all of the lyrics to this great Easter hymn below)

Easter is more than just the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. It is the beginning of a new heaven and a new earth. The sun bursts in through the open window above the cross and we welcome this coming Happy Morning now and until the day when all creation welcomes the presence of God as liberator, redeemer, and friend.

"Welcome, Happy Morning!"
by Venantius Fortunatus, c. 530-609
Translated by John Ellerton, 1826-1893

1. "Welcome, happy morning!" Age to age shall say;
Hell today is vanquished, heaven is won today!"
Lo, the Dead is living, God forevermore!
Him, their true Creator, all His works adore.
"Welcome, happy morning!" age to age shall say;
Hell today is vanquished, heaven is won today!"

2. Maker and Redeemer, Life and Health of all,
Thou from heaven beholding human nature's fall,
Of the Father's Godhead, true and only Son.
Manhood to deliver manhood didst put on.
"Welcome, happy morning!" age to age shall say;
Hell today is vanquished, heaven is won today!"

3. Thou, of life the Author, death didst undergo,
Tread the path of darkness, saving strength to show.
Come, then, True and Faithful, now fulfil Thy word;
'Tis Thine own third morning--rise, 0 buried Lord!
"Welcome, happy morning!" age to age shall say;
Hell today is vanquished, heaven is won today!"

4. Loose the souls long prisoned, bound with Satan's chain;
All that now is fallen raise to life again.
Show Thy face in brightness, bid the nations see;
Bring again our daylight; day returns with Thee.
"Welcome, happy morning!" age to age shall say;
Hell today is vanquished, heaven is won today!"