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Saturday, January 7, 2023

Individual/Unique or Universal?

This morning I was rereading John Dominic Crossan's book on the different sacred art of the East and West in regards to the resurrection. He makes the point that it is not described in the writings we have, perhaps being indescribable in words or not actually witnessed. He starts the book with this quote:

 If Christ did not rise for us, then he did not rise at all, since he had no need of it just for himself. In him the world arose, in him heaven arose, in him the earth arose. For there will be a new heaven and a new earth.

ST. AMBROSE OF MILAN, On the Death of His Brother Satyrus

This quote sums it up. 

Western art portrays Jesus rising alone, maybe with observers down below him, often with mouths open, watching his unique and individual rising.

Eastern art, however, portrays a very different resurrection. Jesus empties hell and brings everyone with him. His is a universal resurrection, bringing everyone with him.

Modern scholarship has moved towards the Eastern understanding, and I concur. It makes sense to me that Jesus already knew life eternal, so to rise alone would be snubbing lowly people who were unlikely to follow. But to show that we can all rise with him, is a game changer. It is a very different message.

Let's consider/contemplate Ambrose's quote and take it into our hearts and discover deep within us the meaning of his words for us.

God bless you, dear ones.

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