Sunday Devotion: 21 April, Easter Sunday

Sunday Devotions

The last enemy

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Main readings: Acts 10.34-43 or Isaiah 65.17-25, Psalm 118.1-2, 14-24 or Hymn to the Risen Christ (APBA p.6 or 327), 1 Corinthians 15.19-26 or Acts 10.34-43, John 20.1-18 or Luke 24.1-12

“for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15.22

John Dominic Crossan, a New Testament scholar, and his wife Sarah, a photographer, travelled through Eastern Europe and the Middle East for 15 years fascinated by religious art depicting the resurrection. They found two stunningly different sorts of images.

In one style, Jesus is portrayed ‘rising in splendid, triumphant, and transcendent majesty, but also in splendid, triumphant, and transcendent isolation.’ Jesus is the solitary figure in artworks of this style.

The second style has Jesus rising but also reaching out to grasp the hand of Adam who sometimes is holding Eve’s hand, sometimes Jesus grasps Eve’s hand directly. In this image Jesus can be seen trampling on the figure that embodies death, and the chains and locks of death are scattered around, with the doors to the place of death broken down and lying in a cross-shape.

Adam and Eve are the biblical parents and symbols for all humanity. Thus in the second style of image Christ is not raised alone, but raises all of humanity with him.

The resurrection of Jesus 2,000 years ago is not merely something that happened to a single person. It has implications for every person past, present and future. It means liberation from death for all of humankind.

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