ONE of my favourite arias from Handel’s “Messiah” is “I know that my Redeemer Liveth”. It is a work of the greatest beauty - to the ears of the believer and non -believer alike. But what shines through the music to me is the Christian faith of the composer, expressing the inner certainty in his soul of Jesus’s resurrection and the promise which that brings to humankind. “And though worms destroy this body, yet in my soul shall I see God”.
Easter Day and the days immediately afterwards in which the disciples were convinced that Our Lord had risen and had appeared to them, lie at the core of the Christian faith. Those who cannot accept the truth of his resurrection will have even greater difficulty in accepting what Jesus told us about life after death. But those who do accept the resurrection are not merely able but bound to accept that Our Lord’s raising on the first Easter Day was for all of us. We can forget about the detail, about the imagery, the speculation. We have, and need only have, the fact and the promise.
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus challenges those with whom he comes into contact to respond to him, and to decide for themselves who he is and what is his mission. This was certainly the case before the crucifixion. Afterwards, those who meet him are still required to respond in faith in order to recognise him, whether this be Mary of Magdala in the Garden, the disciples on the road to Emmaus, or the same disciples fishing by the Sea of Tiberias. And so it is today. Jesus presents himself to us – it is for us to respond to his challenge. “Who do you say that I am?”
St Alphege Church, Solihull