This image, The Risen Christ (1957), by Michel Ciry, the French artist born in 1919, is not your normal representation of Christ’s Resurrection. But then, the Resurrection itself was something way out of the ordinary.
Classical images stick in our mind so readily (you can look up a large selection on the internet) that it would be easy to think it were something that belonged solely to the past.
Christians truly believe the Resurrection to be an historical event: it really happened; but we believe it’s not an event OF the past. What God has done in Christ has an effect for every age and, indeed, for eternity. In his incarnate Son, God has not just entered into our world of sin and death (where the sinless one Jesus dies for us) but he redeems the world paying the price of Adam’s (humanity’s) sin.
In His dying and rising again, we see our God-intended future. Of course, we cannot escape the pains of our own earthly death, no matter how long we might seek to delay that fateful day. We are promised, however, that God has prepared a place in heaven for us, so that life can be restored in all its splendour and that His love will be shared with us without limit or qualification. Remember: we do not earn or deserve the grace of God; neither is the new life of the Resurrection ours by right. They are gifts freely given by God’s boundless mercy.
By virtue of our Baptism and being sustained by our sharing in Holy Communion, we can even now appreciate and apprehend something of that ultimate relationship with God in the coming Kingdom of Heaven. We are equipped by the Holy Spirit to live ALREADY by the values of that Kingdom. We pray every day, Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. By God’s grace we can establish the bridgehead of God’s Kingdom in the world of today.
The Resurrection is as contemporary as it is historical, as much for us as for the saints of old. Ciry’s Christ is a man of today. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and for ever. (Hebrews 13.8)