“I can’t wait till this is over with and we can get back to normal”. How many times have you heard that said or read that in the last few weeks? We yearn for a return to normality after the inconvenience, the boredom and the suffering of this current crisis. It will take some time for even a semblance of “normality” to be restored. And even then clearly things will not be the same even after covid 19 has been contained or perhaps even cured. For those who have lost loved ones nothing can ever be the same again.
What do we hope for? As human beings we tend to long for predictability, maybe even routine. But is that really the best we can hope for? But is the best that we can hope for a return to normality? Because before the outbreak of covid 19 people were suffering from cancer, dementia, mourning the loss of loved ones just as they continue to. The poor are poor, the defenceless and exploited, just the same: is the best that we can hope for, a return to the brokenness of our world?
If we are confused and shocked by the speed of the changes which have overtaken our world in the last few weeks, consider the events of Holy Week. The disciples were left doubting everything they had believed before Jesus’ crucifixion. It’s clear that they hoped for something that they didn’t get. On the road to Emmaus, Cleopas summarises what they had hoped for as Jesus being “the one to redeem Israel”.(Luke 24) Even on the first Easter Sunday when they get the news (admittedly from the most unlikely and unreliable of sources – a woman) that Jesus is alive, they react with confusion and disbelief.
But the resurrection turns out to be not just a return to normality. True, Peter and the other disciples attempt to return to their livelihoods as fishermen but they first of all discover that they can’t catch anything and are then confronted by the resurrected Jesus.
I had an interesting discussion this week with another vicar (online of course) about whether Lazarus was resurrected, revived or resuscitated. Lazarus was raised to life from the dead but unlike Lazarus’ return which led to a later grave, Jesus’ resurrection “ended” with His Ascension to His Father in heaven. We decided that Lazarus was restored to life but Jesus was resurrected.
Resurrection is more than restoration. The resurrection life is much more than the restoration of the dead to life. It is about a new quality of life with God “who makes all things new”