Feast of the Resurrection
By Fr. Nathan Carr
“While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’”
“The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning. And as he spoke he no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write about them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
The concluding paragraph of Clive Staples Lewis’ great Narnia series, and among the most heartening reflections on Christian doctrine I have yet found—all of seminary included! The baptized are an odd group of people, friends. They have too much hope when you give them a pen. Too much love when you give them pain. And I want an account. I want to know why C.S. Lewis writes this stuff.
All is grace. Today is an odd day, dear friends. The one whom we put to death three days ago, is now standing in our midst. In Genesis, God creates a world, commissions Adam to name a rolodex of animals, causes Adam to sleep the sleep of death, and resurrects a church on the other side—her name is Eve. In the Gospels, Jesus creates a Kingdom, is commissioned to rename the names—stone temples become the Temple of his body; bread and wine become body and blood; He then offers himself to death, and resurrects a church on the other side—her name is the City of God. But let us be clear about the resurrection for a moment: a staged resurrection would have us all playing church this morning—passing around some tasteless biscuits in hopes of ameliorating some guilt that we’re not doing enough. That’s not the testimony of Scripture. This is real. We don’t get happy lions, friends, from tasteless biscuits. Lewis is after something far deeper than managing his British guilt. He wants transformation. He wants to live forever. He wants a new body. This is real.
Let us be clear, dear friends. There is sin and brokenness in this world. Fear, prejudice, intolerance, wild injustice and inequity, and sin. Jesus didn’t stage a drama for our inspiration. Jesus didn’t stage a concert to which we bring our Zippos, iPhones, and candles. Jesus didn’t show up fashionably late to an already-great party. He came to raise the dead.
Massive doctrine, which leads to heightened and beautiful truths—the greatest of which is this. Your relationship to everything in this world—God first and all the way down is grace, grace, unerring grace. Your relationship to your friends and enemies is now grace. Your relationship to politics and paying bills is now grace. Your relationship to taxes and tariffs is now grace. Whether in triumph or in tiredness, it is grace all the way down. The body of sin no longer has a hold on you. The body of Christ now envelopes you. And so to this altar of grace we now turn with heads held high—for our redemption draws nigh. The Lord is Risen indeed. Alleluia.
This article first appeared as a newsletter, Nuntius: messenger, The Weekly Newsletter of the Academy of Classical Christian Studies. Used by permission and submission of the author.