Triduum – Part Three
What happens when you put a massive electric charge through a dead body?
Of all the relics of Christ, the only one for which there is clear historical evidence is the Turin Shroud. It alone presents a number of historical and scientific clues that point to the possibility of it actually being the very piece of linen that Jesus’ body was wrapped in.
Jump starting a body is something that we normally only see on an episode of Casualty or ER, but I have been struck over the past week with the simple question as to how Jesus actually came back to life. What if, at the point of resurrection, the Father literally "jumped started" the body of Jesus so that he came back to life. But what if the jump starting wasn’t of an ordinary human being, but the Son of God?
That is exactly the theory that some scientists are coming up with to explain what a photographic negative is doing on the Shroud. Such a huge electric shock would cause a massive burst of light and radiation, enough to place a negative image on the cloth in a similar manner to the way that the sillhouettes of the Hiroshima victims were burned onto the buildings they stood in front of.
But perhaps the most gripping part of the idea that the Shroud is the image of Jesus is that it means that the one reliable relic of Christ is a relic of his victory over sin and death. It is a clear physical declaration of the conquering of everything that separates us from God. It is the imprint of the moment when there was a physical declaration that love and life and holiness had defeated evil and disconnection from the Divine.
That’s what fascinates me about the Shroud – not that it is in some way a wonderful item of iconography or a link to the Saviour. Rather it is what it says – "Life will never be the same again, the victory is won". The Shroud joins with the Gospel accounts this morning to invite us to join in the resurrection life of the Son of God who physically resurrected and calls us to live the new life that he offers. Sin is defeated so come ride with the King of Kings!!!
"Drive with it, drive with it
We’re going to rhyme with it, ride with it
Throw your hands high with it, high with it
So let me see you rise with it, fly with it.
Take this ride and you will find
There’s no need to be afraid"
Alleluia. Christ is Risen
He is Risen Indeed. Alleluia!!
I’m not entirely comfortable with the “jump starting” idea and especially the ER/Casualty analogy, as I think this is too closely bound to a “resuscitated corpse” view of Resurrection – which might perhaps work for Lazarus, but not for Jesus. It wouldn’t help us with the unique nature of the Resurrected Jesus – still the same body, yet a body now able to elude recognition, appear and disappear, etc.
But whilst we can ultimately only speculate about this remarkable shroud and its provenance, I do like your assertion that its value as a relic (if genuine) is entirely declaratory: its testimony to the atonement. Thanks!