In a wonderful op-ed for The Guardian, Canon Giles Fraser talks about what Easter and resurrection mean for his centuries-old parish in South London:
On Sunday morning, just before dawn, a group of us gathered outside church and kindled a small bonfire. From there we passed the flame to a large candle and processed it into the nave – the tentative, flickering light illuminating the dark corners of the building. And from that large candle, we all lit our own individual candles, passing the light from one to another. Everything now starts again. Hallelujah, Christ is risen. Without this, the whole Christian faith is nonsense.
The resurrection is not an argument, still less a philosophical argument. That’s why rational scepticism about the empty tomb just bounces off the surface. As Jonathan Swift was right to say, you can’t reason people out of something they weren’t reasoned into. The resurrection is more an identity than an argument. That’s why we turn it into participatory theatre, with incense and candles. It is who we are – our word for how we go on in the face of overwhelming odds. It’s the Christian term for defiance.
This Easter rising is not just some fancy intellectual idea, it’s a form of praxis… I know the Church of England is supposed to be dying. And there are those who want to save it with cod management theory and evangelical up-speak. But if we as a church really believe in death and resurrection, then we don’t really need any of that secular sorcery. There has been a priest in my parish continuously since the reign of King John in the early 13th century. Politicians call it resilience. I call it resurrection.
This reminds me of Berry’s famous “practice resurrection” idea – but I’d love to hear your thoughts too!