Sunday, 21 March 2010
"If our flesh is not renewed, then the Lord has not actually redeemed us with His life and death; then the Eucharistic cup does not make us sharers in His blood, and the broken bread, sharers in His body.
The heart of the truth is that the Word of God actually became flesh, and it was with that body, He actually redeemed us in His life, death and resurrection. As Paul puts it, 'In Him, though His blood, we have been redeemed".
Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd century Christian theologian).
With many thanks to Kayceeus for permission to use her image.
Isn't it lovely, wrote an artist friend to me today, to sense the regenerative power of Spring in the air again?
We all know there's something pretty amazing about this time of year - the days becoming longer, warmer, the earth bringing forth a plethora of colour and richness. Everything speaks of a fresh encounter with the marvel of life, which breaks out from the coldness and seemingly iron grip of winter. It's not much of surprise, then, that many ancient religions cycled around the 'magic' of nature's fertility, but as the wise Epimenides pointed out to the Athenian Greeks around 600 BC, to reside at such a level is to stay in ignorance of the One behind such marvels.
The 'natural' victory of life over death we see creation play out every year whispers loudly concerning a deep reality at the heart of things - death is a usurper, preying upon our current demeaned "life", but things were and will be very different.
The heart of Christianity is an event that truly staggers us. The God who made us was not prepared to leave us in a state of futility and destruction when we walked away from His care, but this God Himself came to us, became as us, to suffer, to draw the sting of sin and death, to overcome these, and to give us a new life as real as the renewal of spring.
C S Lewis puts this so well - a quote which came swiftly to mind when I viewed the image above this morning:
"One has the image of a diver, stripping off layer after layer until naked,
going down through the green, sunlit water into the pitch black, cold, freezing depths,
down, to the very mud and slime,
and then, up again, lungs almost bursting, breaking back into the sunshine,
holding the dripping thing taken from the depths...
The thing is us, but with it, all of nature - the redeemed creation"
(The Grand Miracle).
As the flowers bloom, and the beauty clothes our world, that's worth thinking about...