Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Feast of the Resurrection 2014

Early one morning in the garden...

Gardens feature frequently in the interaction between Man and God. In the Garden were we placed; from the Garden did our sin cast us; in the Garden did the Lord begin His Passion; in the Garden was He buried; from the Garden did He rise. It is clear that God intends us to be happy within some form of Garden.

Throughout His ministry, Our Lord Jesus has shown how in control He is of the natural and how much He respects the natural order. He will make sure that there is wine in abundance but He will not turn stone into bread, so that the stones themselves can cry out the praise and glory of God as the stones which God intended them to be. He feeds multitudes by stretching out a feast from the smallest crumbs and He will curse the fig tree that does not bear fruit to remind us that it is the will of God that mankind should bear good fruit. Our Blessed Lord seeks to bring the Creation of God into communion with God.

Everything points to the goodness of God's Creation. Fire burns, and so we are kept warm, yet at the expense of possibly burning to death, Water sustains life, and so we must drink to preserve our lives even at the expense of drowning. The natural order has its order, but only Mankind has the sin. Only Mankind can see Evil in the Created order because Mankind has knowledge of Good and Evil. Yet, for all its inherent goodness, the natural order brings death to human beings - volcanoes, typhoons, earthquakes. They are not evil in themselves, but they are an affront to the dignity of humanity to live, the cause of so much pain, suffering, misery and degradation. Sometimes we forget that we must die, and for most of us that will be in the natural order rather than in the hands of the evil which comes out of a human being.

It is outside the Garden that Our Lord meets Death even as we also must meet Death outside of Eden. His Death makes good the penalty for our sins, that penalty being eternal separation from God. That which is not-God, thus finite and susceptible to corruption and decay, cannot make that reconciliation eternally. Only that which is both human and divine can unify humanity in death to an eternity of living in the Creator.

And so we are face with this enormous fact. Christ has died, but Christ is risen. In His resurrection, we find ourselves brought back into the Garden. At the presence of the Risen Christ, the Cherub sheaths his sword of fire and permits re-entry into Eden for all who follow the Shepherd who laid down His life for the Sheep. Is this a breach of the natural order? No, for all God gives all creatures meat in due season. When He giveth it them they gather it : and when He openeth His hand they are filled with good. When He hideth His face they are troubled : when He taketh away their breath they die, and are turned again to their dust. When He letteth His breath go forth they shall be made : and He shalt renew the face of the earth. The glorious majesty of the Lord shall endure for ever : the Lord shall rejoice in his works. (cf Psalm civ.27-31)

So we shall rejoice with God. In Him is life, and this life is ours too. His son is raised and remains with us. We partake of that single sacrifice and gain our substance  from Him and thus our return to the Garden is assured through the love of God. This is no Garden of Earthly delights, but a Garden of delight in God which begins here and we cultivate its growth in our hearts.

This is the day that the Lord hath made! Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Alleluia!

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