DEATH CONQUERED BY LOVE
“He has risen, He is not here.”
Many years ago the Seminary environment used to provide the right atmosphere for the celebration of this great night of enormous mystery. After the celebration of the Lord’s Supper and the watch till midnight, we were always encouraged to remain silent through the night and all of Good Friday on to the end of the celebration of this Holy Night. The silent atmosphere re-created the mood of the city of Jerusalem, nay the whole world, when the earth was shaken by a sudden earthquake and darkness covered the earth for three good hours because God was dead in the flesh. The silence was to impress upon us the feelings of the disciples of Jesus since after the betrayal by Judas, who was one of them, the arrest of Jesus, their Master, the scourging, the tortuous journey up the hill of Calvary with the weight of the cross, no, the weight of our sins, on His back, the excruciating agony of the crucifixion and His death on the cross. The disciples dispersed in fear and gathered back in the Upper Room in a silence that would have been too loud even for the deaf. The silence and stillness realize more and more that the King of the universe laid still in deep slumber. The silent atmosphere drew our minds to the realization that just as in the deep sleep of the first Adam God formed Eve, so too, through the deep sleep of His Son, the second Adam, we are re-created, not in condemnation but in justification by His Blood. We were encouraged to be silent so we could contemplate the enormity, not of His death but of His love for us individually, for in truth Christ died for each one of us personally. That silence and contemplation enabled us to ask so many “Why?” The answers were and still are embedded in the mystery of God’s unfathomable love. That love that conquered death. Truly death has been swallowed up by victory powered by love. “Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting” (1 Corinthians 15: 55).
This night is unique, my dear friends in Christ, this night is so different from all nights. We began this celebration in darkness, with all the lights in the Church put out. This is to remind us of the darkness of the tomb, where our Redeemer lays. Then, we went out for the ceremony of light. This is a great sign of hope that even though our Redeemer lays in the darkness of the tomb, He, who is The Light of the world, cannot be conquered by darkness. He is: The light that shines in the dark; the light that darkness could not overcome (John 1: 5). Then the silence begins to have a crack with the great Easter Proclamation, The Exultet that gloriously eulogises the beauty and the wonders of this night. The mode changes with the chanting of The Gloria that announces in essence that Good News that He is Alive! That He dies no more: “He arose a Victor from the dark domain; and He lives forever with the saints to reign.” The Church and Christians all over burst in shouts of “Alleluia!” in joy and celebration of the Resurrection of our Risen Christ. St. Paul assures us that Christ, as we know, having been raised from the dead will never die again. He is indeed alive – for me and for you.
What does His mean for us? That Christ is alive for us means that we are alive by the fact of His Resurrection, not only alive here on earth but most importantly alive in eternity. We shall surely be where He is. It is invariably a demand that because He has risen for us, He must also be alive in us. Yes, to be “alive for” and to be “alive in” are two different things. To be “alive for” is a gratuitous gift from God whereas to be “alive in” is the duty we owe to God as a sign of our gratitude for His gift of the Resurrection of his Son.
We pray that the Risen Christ may be alive in us so that the world may come to experience both the power and the love of His Resurrection through our simple life of witnessing. Amen.
HAPPY EASTER TO YOU ALL