Saturday, April 11, 2009

Behold the Place Where They Laid Him: The Body is Risen! Hallelujah! (TOTB Part V)

TOTB Resources; TOTB Intro; TOTB Part I; TOTB Part II; TOTB Part III; TOTB Part IV

The whole point, from the very beginning of this story, has been that our bodies reflect our created purpose - our call to enter into the eternal union of love that existed in the Godhead before all time. We royally fell from our intended purpose, but because God's love is so faithful, God the Son, in the man Jesus, radically showed us the way back to abundant living. Tragically, we responded by killing him, thinking that if we could rob God of his body, we could continue to grope in the darkness without facing the truth that our lives had no meaning apart from their created purpose.

If the story ends here, however marvelous the story is to this point, the whole story is in vain and worthless. Everything is void and we are done and we have no hope. Death ends everything.
  • If death is the end of the story of God the Son, then there is no eternal communion of love, and hence no purpose to this life. The grave is all-consuming and there is no reason to live with intention. There is no reason to live at all.
  • If death is the end of the story of God the Son, then God's love is not total; it is, in fact, limited by a grave.

  • If death is the end of the story of God the Son, then God is powerless to save, and we are stuck, forever stuck, in the futility of our bodies, forever seeking self-gratification, rejecting self-donation.

Everything is at stake in the remainder of the story!

We can relive the wonder, the relief, the incredulity, and the awe of joining Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome upon reaching the tomb of Jesus on the third day after the crucifixion. Mark's gospel reports, "The stone [of the tomb] was rolled away [and] a young man [was] sitting on the right side clothed in a long white garment.... And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazereth, which was crucified: he is risen: he is not here: behold the place where they laid him."

Hallelujah! They place where they laid him contains no dead body! The end of the story is resurrection! The body of Jesus is alive, to this very day, alive! There is a communion of love! God's love is total! God's love is powerful to save! There is hope! There is a victory! We have a purpose in this life because death is not the end of the story! There is hope for our bodies! God's salvation is mighty and will not allow our bodies to live in the tragedy of self-gratification! The power of the resurrection is available today to raise our bodies to live again as we were intended to live!

(I had originally hoped to complete my Theology of the Body summary in celebration of Easter, but I realized that to be truly and appropriately timed, this fifth summary should really fall on Easter. So what started as a Lenten project will hopefully be continued through Pentecost.)
* Image source here.