Ps. 16; Isa. 25:6-9; 1 Cor. 15:1-11; Mark 16:1-8
Feast, On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine… He will swallow up death forever; and... wipe away tears from all faces… “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us… let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” (vv. 6a, 8, 9)
During the Easter triduum we liturgically awaited Christ’s dawning from Sabbath rest in the grave for ushering-in God’s long promised salvation in the new creation.
During our liturgical wait we were in communion with Jesus’ first NT saints. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome waited for the end of the Sabbath’s strictures to anoint the body of their “dead” Lord.
There is a difference in what these first disciples “feared” and what we celebrate this morning. The disciples huddled behind closed doors, obedient to the Sabbath, expecting at dawn to anoint Jesus’ body in preparation of last rites.
But our liturgical wait is informed by faith in the angelic young man, in white stole, spoken to the women at the tomb, “You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the Crucified One. He has risen; he is not here… But go tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him…”
The women fled and “said nothing to anyone for they were afraid”; but they did relay the encounter to the disciples; and the Lord did meet them that day in going ahead.
Jesus’ bodily absence from the tomb and his appearance to the disciples is the church’s Easter good news; waiting, not in fear and silence, but an expectation of “alleluia” joy; that Jesus, God’s Crucified, gathers us into the Light of his salvation through his abiding blood.
Some might ask, “What’s the big deal about Jesus’ re-vivification?” Yes, Jesus is resurrected, ascended and enthroned into at the right hand of God; and so, the faithful are promised on the Last Day, whenever that is, reunion of body and soul; so far so good.
But is that what all the shouting is about; a Christianity that asks, “What’s in it for me”; or are our “alleluias” in the Resurrection more profound, immediate, even cosmic? I think the latter.
Salvation’s progression in the new creation coming into being, is this: all Christology is ecclesiology, i.e., all Jesus-talk speaks of his church. Apart from the church’s ingathering of the Baptized, there is no salvation.”
Theologians study that mouthful all their lives, and so should you. Some are offended by the cross; as well as God’s universal salvation effected on the cross yet exclusive of Jesus’ church.
But what concretely does the Resurrection mean; that eternal life in Christ is through the church’s word and sacraments! It is true, we have some further waiting for the rise of our bodies on the Last Day; but of chief import is that the body of Christ lives in a baptismal and eucharistic resurrection with our Lord in this place, now.
With the church in the ages, we liturgically commune as “body of Christ” shaped by her triduum celebration of God’s culminating life and work in Jesus on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter.
That, of course is an abstraction; then know this: true worship is of the body, eucharistically offering, by accepting what God has done and is doing in Jesus; Christian worship connects with his Resurrection every Lord’s Day to new life in Christ.
Even when we are by-ourselves, Resurrection life does not admit of individual, private, or discrete devotions apart from the Body. All Christian word, nourishment, and growth is eucharistically succored and comprehended in Jesus’ crucified flesh through whom we have access to the Ancient of Days for our reign in heaven and earth (Dan. 7).
Jesus, initiated our participation into his “dominion”, first inviting a foretaste of his end-time meal, “Take eat, this is my body”; and because Life is in the blood (Gen. 9:4; Lev. 17:11) so his body and blood unite with us, to be true men and women in him, “Take drink, this Cup is the NT in my blood.”
What do you to think of the church’s sacramental meal, proclaimed by Isaiah; “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us (“Hosanna”)… let us be glad and rejoice (“Alleluia”) in his salvation.” We are on journey into heaven’s eternal Presence.
God formed his church in Christ, a corporate body, that he might be “all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28b). After exchanging wedding promises at Mt. Sinai, that the Lord would be Israel’s God, and his church obedience and faithful, Heaven hosted a feast.
Representatives of Israel, separated by a clarifying glassy pavement, beheld God face to face; eating and drinking in his presence (Ex. 24:9-11). No doubt the meal included table-talk with the One who is Speech of God to experience the Trinitarian character by his word.
This meal, “in beginning” (a place—Jn. 1:1), foreshadowed future communion of God with Israel; and finally discloses Zion’s NT meal (Isa. 25:6-9), a portent of God’s Last Day Wedding Feast of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9; 21:1-4).
Holy Thursday the NT church participated, with its apostolic representatives, the substance of heaven’s first meal with Israel, the Speech of God’s body and blood to be broken and shed for our purity in the King’s perpetual feast.
Good Friday concluded Jesus’ Baptism in death as true Son and Man for our release from death; sacrificial water and blood issuing from his body by which his church in the Resurrection would receive the HS for faith and Life.
During our triduum celebration we awaited God raising Jesus in victory over sin, Satan, and death. Baptized into Jesus death we have the promise of eternal new Life; by his Resurrection we enter his flesh and blood to new Life.
The long and the short is, Christ reigns in the world with the Baptized, his flesh and blood fed saints; in this manner God loved the world (Jn. 3:16).
Our witness, in the world, to God’s love by Jesus’ obedience elevates us to new food, “bread-flesh” and “wine-blood”, the substance of the Spirit’s NT water for new begetting from above to faith. By word and Sacrament, we are possessed of a latent bodily resurrection, but made patent as “body of Christ”.
Isaiah refers to God as “LORD of hosts” (Isa. 25:6), the church as armies of God. In, with, and under Christ, the Crucified, we are given rule in heaven and earth by the love shown to you in Christ. Amen and Alleluia!