Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you — unless you have come to believe in vain. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. (1 Cor. 15:1-8)
Of first importance
“Christ died for our sins … he was buried … he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.”
Paul makes this simple statement here just a few years after the founding of the church in Corinth in 50 or 51 AD, and Christians repeat it to this day in the words of the Nicene Creed (BCP 358).
Paul goes on to say Christ appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the twelve, then to more than 500, then to James, then to all the apostles, then to Paul himself.
These things happened.
They connect with the record of God’s saving acts recorded in scripture.
Real people, known to the first witnesses of the resurrection, also experienced Christ’s appearing.
Not just all people, but all things
In his Easter week meditation for Brother, Give Us a Word, Br. Mark Brown of the Society of St. John the Evangelist reflects that:
Something that pertains to the whole cosmos is happening in the death and resurrection of Christ. From the depths of the inner worlds to the furthest reaches of outer space. “Behold, I am making all things new” — not just all people, but all things.
Life is being renewed in Christ, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still have to work at driving away “wrong desires” or “keeping God’s law” or following “the way of peace.”
We also still have to use the plunger on clogged toilets, as Lovely Wife and I discovered this morning.
Even the “things” sometimes resist this new creation in Christ, but as witnesses ourselves to the resurrection, we can see now that they are shot through with new promise — that even our struggles fit somehow into a larger pattern of new life at work in the world around us.