“Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!”
The wonderful ancient greeting for Easter that the western liturgical traditions have retrieved from the Orthodox churches – which have maintained it over many centuries as a greeting not simply for inside the church building, but between neighbours and friends in the street – captures the immediacy of the Easter event. It is real and it is present, and it is for proclaiming boldly and confidently to all around us.
Part of what we surely need to recover as Christians in Ireland today is a confidence – a full–blooded confidence – that we actually want to allow Christ to run loose and dangerous in the world around us. We need to recover that spirited confidence to assert that Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is not our private property as churchy people, but is truly for the whole of society and the entire world.
And let us also be in no doubt that the resurrection of Jesus Christ that we celebrate in these days, in the midst of all the post–modern incoherence and relativism that surrounds us, is emphatically neither a metaphor for positive thinking nor a symbol of wish–fulfillment. The event of Easter was, and is an event. But if we seek only to hold on grimly to the Christian Easter for ourselves – whether for our comfort or our satisfaction – we are in fact diminishing Christ in the eyes of the world. Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, does not need our timid protection; he asks for our courageous witness.
The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland