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straining to speak: rowan williams on Easter

April 7th, 2007 by isaac · No Comments

I keep coming back to two passages in Rowan Williams book, Resurrection. They offer me a stumbling block and wonderful possibilities at the same time as I try to figure out how to preach on Easter. Here are the passages:

as with the whole of Jesus’ life, we are driven to speak of events which, without any unambiguous supernatural ‘component’ (the empty tomb itself remains a disputable sign), produce a kind of seismic shift in human speech and self-understanding—events which are creative in such a way that our talking about them is always exploratory and never exhaustive. This is the least that needs to be said about Easter: it is not to be reduced to a process of hard and inventive interpretive work by the disciples. What we have before us is far too confused and tentative for that; it points back into an obscurity rich and resourceful enough to be called nothing less than ‘God acting.’ (xv)

we are confronted by a disorderly bundle of traditions whose sole common feature seems to be the conviction that nothing which occurred on Easter Day or after was anticipated…. There is a central silence, not broken until the second century, about the event of resurrection… It is an event which is not describable, because it is precisely there that there occurs the transfiguring expansion of Jesus’ humanity which his the heart of the resurrection encounters. It is an even on the frontier of any possible language, because it is the moment in which our speech is both left behind and opened to new possibilities. (89)

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