Easter Magazine Article

The Resurrection of the Body

There is something a little relentless about this period – so I am writing this on Good Friday in order to meet our publication deadline – and have just come away from our Morning All Age worship, and in advance of Easter . . .

A couple of things happened there which suggested to me something about the nature of our faith to which we would do well to pay more attention. The first was when our curate, Brett threw ‘pieces of silver’ over the floor and asked the children to count them. Almost before the coins hit the floor, I could hear several of the children calling out – ‘there are thirty . . .’ – which gave me pause. Certainly we might well congratulate ourselves on their being so well informed about the facts of our faith – but that is a very narrow way of knowing anything. Watching them pick them up, join together and count them with the question, ‘How much is a human life worth?’ ringing in their ears – holding the coins, with their human attraction to ‘Money’ – the question and the answer became far denser in its meaning . . .
A little later I was required to play the part of one who put the cross together, hammering nails into wood with a heavy hammer. Feeling the labour of it, and hearing the sound echoing around the bare wood of the chancel, stripped of its furnishings the evening before at Maundy Thursday – again a Knowing far more significant than a mere mental assent to the facts . . . In both these Knowings there was a Participation. The whole body was involved – and indeed must be if our faith is True.

The Easter Story tells us that our ultimate destiny is Embodied. The Word became Flesh, not do to away with our flesh, but that our flesh might itself be saved from its bondage to corruption and decay. Jesus is raised, not as an atmosphere, not a beautiful idea, but as a body, a body which is the dwelling place of God. For the Temple of his body having been destroyed, he raised it in three days.

Growth in faith is every bit as much the transformation of our bodily existence, a Learning of a way of being in the body, indwellt and taught by the Holy Spirit, as it is knowing the facts of our faith. These are Essential, but the greatest essential fact is the fact of the Risen Christ, who has conquered Sin and Death, in His Body.

For many many years now – we have been more and more reduced  to abstract ‘thinking’ beings. Education becomes about what we know in very narrow terms. The current mania over artificial intelligence is largely focussed on the damnable notion that if we can replicate a human brain, we can replicate a human being, as if we were reduced to a brain in a jar and fed the appropriate nutrients we would truthfully exist as humans.
René Descartes who was highly suspicious of our bodily nature, set us down this path wondering what it was that he could be certain of. He finally came to the conclusion that the only thing he could be SURE about was that he had thoughts – so said, ‘I think therefore I am . . .’ (Actually he was even more pessimistic than this and said, ‘my thoughts might themselves be a deception – but at least I can say that there is an I who is deceived!!’)

The Church would respond to Descartes and our culture of ‘thinking beings’ might say our Certainty is indeed enfleshed – the flesh of the Word made flesh, and now Risen from Death. We are, because He Is.

Phil Trotter – Intergenerational Church

Phil is the National Youth Advisor for Tikanga Pakeha of the Anglican Church in New Zealand, and shared this with us this morning



Here is the first thought provoking video . . . adult and child perceptions?


Here is the second video clip – on how elders helpfully correct those who are younger 🙂


Lent – Forty days without . . . Day 18

Continued thoughts on going without some of our technological appendages


and indeed, appendages they have become, limb like in their attachment to us. We are rapidly fusing with elements of our technological milieu, to the point where we have become accustomed to speaking in terms of ‘the post-human’, or imagining that AI is perhaps not the horror it was once perceived to be. Do we care if the ‘person’ who is looking after us is actually an advanced latex covered robot, if it seems human?

Although I am taking time to disconnect from a few of my own technological prosthetics – smartphone, tablet and computer – one of my repeated observations is that these ‘tools’ actually disconnect us from one another. I have become so used to seeing ‘friends’ spending half an hour in the same space, whilst sharing barely a word over ‘a coffee date’, staring at their devices. [ I still remember quite clearly how more than a year ago now: I was with my wife Sarah,  in a restaurant. A mother and daughter had brought the grandmother out ‘for a special occasion lunch’. The two younger members of the party were constantly on their phones, picking at their food as texts and emails allowed. The Grandmother was a picture of loneliness on ‘her special occasion’.]

There is such a thing as a companionable silence, which grows out of deep friendship, a mutual trust, and a sense of being known which goes beyond words. A Knowledge that frees one from the anxiety of ‘having to be connected’. Theologically we might express this in terms of God’s radical freedom From us, which is the assured basis of his being For us. God is not always anxiously trying to ‘be in touch’ and his friends worry less and less about ‘what to say’ in His presence. Love does not grasp.

But the technologically induced ‘silence’ is of another sought. Fingers fly over the screens – grimaces and more cross the face as people seek connection with ‘friends’, people whom perhaps they have never met face to face. Research reveals the non-companionability of such interactions. At the neuro-physiological level, there is no response which correlates to the presence of another. When we interact by text whatever our minds say, most of our being is unresponsive – text does not convey the presence of the other to us any deeper than those thoughts that perpetually flick across our consciouness. Silence in such cases is deeply troubling, for we do not actually believe that there is anyone there.

So in a counter intuitive way, disconnecting enables connection. It causes us to wake up to what Is. To God. To be truly human, not by addition, but by stripping away

I know from my own experience how I have lost track of prayer and spacious quiet in the presence of God, as my hand instinctively moved to my phone and its beep as yet another message came in. In my early days of such a device I completely lost my way, and ever since, even if I carry it, which I tend not to, it is always set to silent. The change in my mood has been marked, not least for my family, to whom I am more present.

What we fail to acknowledge, because it contradicts one of the most pervasive and deceitful myths of our age – that of ‘progress’ (magnified by technological ‘Change’ [sic]) – is that tools change us. The internet is awash with videos of how drivers of large cars are less courteous than those of small cars; we do speak far less to one another on those increasingly rare occasions when we are in company – google glass has perhaps not taken off, because we have already adapted ourselves to the cell phone appendage [Undertakers note a new wrinkle under the chin – cell phone glance wrinkle]; someone with a gun is not the same as someone with a gun; or to quote the old aphorism, ‘ to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail ‘ We love to say, because we Need to say ‘it is not the tools, it is how we use them . . .’ but even the simplest of tools come with the promise of Power, and Power corrupts

We have a sense that with technology we become More – we expand the scope of our power over our surroundings – perhaps this is the root of our obsession with The Self. The truth is that we become far less. We become like that which we worship, for it promises everything to us, and we have a hard time resisting the lure. With regards to smartphones etc. this is especially true as we disappear – we are no longer present. (purely having one on your person reduces your attentiveness to that which is around by about 15% . . .) The average smartphone user looks at the screen 80 times a day. We cannot look away . . . I have myself driven a visitor through the glorious scenery of the South Island, with them permanently glued to their screen . . .

But in Lent, we go without – we empty ourselves deliberately – and therein find great treasures in things perhaps long forgotten . . . Hopefully we find we wake up, and carry on doing without, for the Life which emerges.

Technology promises us that in taking more we shall be like gods [Again, a reason why the gnostic evolutionary forms of faith seem so persuasive] . . . but the way of Kenosis, of laying down, of letting go is the way we come to ourselves. The way of the Cross. The way of Jesus