“For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 15:21-23
I remember in High School in an intramural soccer game, suddenly I was in front of the opposite team’s goalie with the ball at my feet. Another larger, more athletic boy on my team charged in behind me, and instinctively I stepped away to let him take the shot—I was too worried I would mess it up and have my teammates look down on me for it. My hesitancy did not help. The other boy blasted the ball so hard against the goalie’s hand that he jumped up in pain, with half his pinky finger at a right angle to the rest of it. I have never been good at sports, and that incident proved it beyond doubt.
It’s a small thing when put up against other failures I’ve faced in my life, but it is symbolic of just that. I fail. I mess up. I don’t always come through. I suspect you feel the same way about yourself. We see it in one another. Life is not all good, and we wish it were, yet try as we might, we never quite seem to get it right. We are somehow profoundly broken, both individually and as a society and a global species. There is no perfect society in the world, no perfect culture. I would go so far as to say that no culture is any more intrinsically whole than any other, or more broken.
This passage tells me that God knows and has done something about it. As a Christian, I see in Christ a process of redemption, beginning to unfold. We must die to our egos, our brokenness, even to our imagined dreams of a perfect society. Belonging to Christ means committing myself to loving as he loved, dying to my egocentric urges and ethnocentric fears for the good of people I don’t even understand, and trusting that such small deaths will ultimately transcend the big Death, which is to remain in our brokenness. In such a resurrection, death itself will finally serve no purpose and atrophy with disuse.
Loving God, on this day when we celebrate the resurrection of your Son, our trailblazer and guide, grant us the grace to witness the final death of death itself. This we pray by the power of the life-giving Spirit, and in the name of that same Son. Amen.
-Fr. Paul Moore