Scripture readings – April 24th, 2011 (Easter Sunday)

Acts 10;34a, 37-43; Col 3:1-4; John 20:1-9

He is risen!  Alleluia!

 You must begin the celebration of the Easter season by promising yourself that, to balance whatever acts of self-denial you performed during Lent, you will party twice as much (at least 1/5 as much, for the mathematicians in the audience) during the Easter season.  Perhaps it’s a problem inherent in the liturgical calendar, or perhaps it’s grounded in human nature, but there is a tendency in many parishes to observe the solemnities of Lent well, and then -after a beautiful celebration of the Easter Vigil – to go on vacation.  Now, going on vacation is actually a wonderful way to celebrate Easter, provided we’re doing it mindfully.

What struck me in the Easter readings is a line from Peter’s speech on that first Pentecost, as recorded in Acts of the Apostles. He identifies himself as one of those “who ate and drank with him (Jesus) after he rose from the dead.”

What a powerful line! And how fleshy.

We live in a culture permeated by Scientism.  I don’t mean Science -the honest human search to uncover the truths of the natural world through the application of the human mind.   Science is beautiful and holy. 

Scientism, on the other hand,  has nothing to do with Science. It is as corrosive to Science as Fundamentalism is to Religion.  Scientism is the belief that if something cannot be experienced by the five senses or measured or logically proven than it can’t be real.   And with one swipe, all of the great religions of the world collapse in a heap.

Scientism has poisoned the well of religious belief by drawing the reality of the Resurrection into question.  With the possible exception of the Shroud of Turin (and I tend to believe the Carbon 14 testing there that places its’ origin in the Middle Ages), there is no physical proof of it.

While the line from Acts quoted above won’t satisfy anyone’s criteria for physical proof, it does make one point crystal clear – those first witnesses to the Resurrection  unambiguously proclaimed it as both a physical and a spiritual reality.  They didn’t just experience the presence of the risen Christ in prayer.  They passed the salad bowl to him at dinner. 

Resurrection is body and soul.  No other experience could qualify as eternal life.

No need to worry if, like me, you find your body beginning to creak and groan at times.  We will leave all of that stuff behind when we rise from the dead through Christ.  But make no mistake – our flesh will be transformed into “glorified bodies” possessing all of the good stuff that flesh provides – but no longer limited by the demands of time and space.

He is truly risen!  Alleluia!

Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)

(To purchase book length versions of my scriptural reflections, go to: www.twentythirdpubliications.com. My latest book is entitled, “Make Room For Scripture.”)

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