APRIL 12, 2020
CODEC: 1-56-500


It's interesting to me that the resurrection, this ultimate and conclusive act of Jesus, is not described in the gospels. We go from his death to his return with the act of what happens 'in between' not fully described or depicted.

It seems clear that the church was not sure how to represent this pivotal moment. The first image of the resurrection was not made until 400 years after the life of Jesus. Another 300 years went by before the second.

The first image of resurrection depicts Jesus alone, rising from the grave. The second image shows humanity rising with him. I love how that seems to show the church gaining more understanding over time. It turns the resurrection of Jesus from a personal act over death into a communal one. I'm reminded of the way that Paul talks about the connection, saying "if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised."

But then more time passes and I think the church loses understand instead of gaining more.

Those initial images portray Jesus with wounded hands, carrying a cross, stepping on death itself and walking into life. Yet as time goes on the images become Jesus with a spear in his hand defeating death by dealing a killing blow to Satan.

In the first images it is the violence done to Jesus that allows him to prevail. In the end it is violence done by Jesus — and he does it from afar, directing all of his attention at the evil instead of looking towards his rise.


The word used in many depictions of the resurrection is 'Anastasis'. This greek word literally means uprising. To call it a 'resurrection' is accurate, of course, but it may overemphasize the death, the descent, the battle, instead of drawing our minds to the rise which directly impacts us all.

St. Augustine seemed to wonder this himself, saying “If Sacred Scripture has said, without naming Hell and its pains, that Christ when he died went into the bosom of Abraham, I wonder if anyone would have dared to say that he ‘descended into hell’"

The story of Jesus' death and uprising (and it truly was an uprising) was itself a parable which stood in direct opposition to our own violent ways. The Kingdom of God's use of non-violence offers us a way out of the violence which has defined humanity since the life of Cain.

Violence will always beget more violence. The only way forward is to escalate and retaliate.

This is decidedly not the story of Jesus.

The uprising that Christ led on resurrection Sunday did not just saved the souls of the dead. It offered the living a way out of our own 'death', out of our obsession with violence as a conclusion to all things.

Humanity doesn't know how to do that — but those who follow Jesus should.

Thankful for the resurrection and uprising of Jesus.