Monday, April 16, 2012

1 Peter on The Resurrection

Christ, the King of Glory
From a medieval illumination

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry, 11inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated, when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the subsequent glory. 12It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look! (1 Peter 1:3-10)
--From today's Daily Office lessons 

The opening of the First Letter of Peter is a marvelous passage in Scripture. It encourages us to understand the Resurrection of Christ not as an event locked or sealed in the past, but as an ongoing reality, a joy-in-the-midst-of-suffering that gives savor, hope, and depth to our earthly life.

As we start to move through the Great 50 Days of Easter, this is a good moment to take seriously what the Scripture says: the Resurrection is both a present reality (“receiving the outcome of our faith, the salvation of our souls” made known in the transforming power of God through worship, study, and service) and a future fulfillment (“kept in heaven for us”) that is available, in part, even now. 

It is this unity of past, present, and future, that remains elusive for those who understand the Resurrection either in purely “physical” or purely “spiritual” terms. It is, on the deepest level, beyond such gross distinctions. The Resurrection is, in essence, the most "real" event since the Creation, and uniquely binds all the disparate and fragmented elements of time and space together. This is why each Eucharist is a direct participation in the One Pascha, the One Easter, the One Consummation of all things that has yet to be in its fullness here on earth.

St. Peter brings this fact out by noting the Resurrection directly connects us—who live in its light by faith and the work of the Holy Spirit—with the Prophets who came before. We are all essential parts of a mystery so vast that even the angels envy (if we may so speak) our share in it!

May the Great 50 Days increase our awareness of the Resurrection as a present reality, yet something into which we are growing. May we embrace more and more this inheritance that is ours in Christ.

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