St Bride's: Sermons

Deliverance From Death: The Miracle of Resurrection

miner_rescue.jpg

Last Miner Luis Urzua Rescued

An Easter Message

Last autumn the world held its breath as thirty-three Chilean miners waited, trapped 700 metres underground in the San José mine, desperately hoping to be rescued. They waited for 69 days until they were finally brought to the surface through a combination of modern technology and extraordinary determination and perseverance.

The story, as it unfolded in all its nail-biting drama, was watched by an estimated one billion people, and there was a genuine sense of joy and triumph around the world when all the men were finally rescued and reunited with their families.

The miners were a colourful and mixed crowd, certainly no angels, ranging in age from 19 to 63. They were hard-living, colourful characters. They were also for the most part devout Roman Catholics. They prayed every day, and they openly and publicly gave thanks to God when they were released from their underground tomb.

A Modern Day Metaphor

I don't think it is too fanciful to see their story as a modern-day metaphor for the Easter story. The miners descended into Hell - those first 17 days were a living hell, not knowing if help was coming, slowly starving to death until the initial borehole reached them. Then they began to believe in the power of Resurrection - the knowledge that there was the possibility of life beyond almost certain death, as the drillers worked frantically to reach their target without causing further rock falls.

Finally came their deliverance, ending in glorious Ascension, as one by one they were brought in the capsule to the surface and the sunlight and the fresh air they had thought they might never breathe again.

The whole experience seemed to them, and to the watching millions, nothing less than a miracle. Who knows, perhaps the Vatican will declare it to be one in years to come.

Be that as it may, the rescue of those 33 miners was a truly wonderful and inspiring moment, and a reminder that the power of Resurrection is a present reality as well as an historic event.

God speaks to us at the level of our deepest experience, at the time of our deepest need. And whether we are Chilean miners, or redundant City workers or desperate housewives, or just ordinary struggling people, the miracle of resurrection can be found within the ordinary routine of our daily lives.

For each of us it will be different, and we can't predict how it will happen. But the assurance that our weakness and suffering can be confronted and answered is the faith to which the miracle of the first Easter morning is the supreme and enduring witness.

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