“Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen!...’” (Lk 24: 1-6)

When Nietzsche intuited that “God is dead” in our modern-day culture, he meant it figuratively, in the sense that the Enlightenment had “killed” faith in God, within our way of thinking about, and perceiving, the world. Others have taken Nietzsche’s intuition further, to say that God is “dead” in the sense that He does not, or never did, exist at all.

But as one of the angels “in shining garments” told the women on that Sunday morning two millennia ago, and continues to tell us throughout all the generations since then, – God is not dead. But He is “not here,” where many of us are mistakenly looking for Him, “among the dead.” And that’s what we are doing, when we lack faith in the resurrection, or more specifically, in the resurrected Lord, while still going about our “religious” culture. In that case, even our “religious” life (i.e., our church-going and church-work, or fasting or singing or fund-raising, or whatever) resembles a sad exercise in (re-)anointing a corpse “among the dead.”

But the angel tells us to lift up our eyes and encounter the living Lord among us, “the living,” in Him. Because Christ is risen, and indeed lives, in our midst, enabling us to have “life abundantly” in Him (Jn 10: 10), as we go about our “religious” or other work. So let us do as we are called to do, in the words of the Paschal Canon: “Lift up your eyes about you, O Zion, and behold! (Ἆρον κύκλῳ τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς σου Σιὼν καὶ ἴδε / Возведи окрест очи твои, Сионе, и виждь) For lo! Your children have assembled unto you from the West and from the North and from the South and from the East, as divinely radiant lights, blessing Christ in you unto the ages.” (Paschal Canon, Ode 8) Christ is risen, my friends! “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord!” (Ps 118: 17)

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