‘Love is a losing game’. So sang Amy Winehouse, jazz singer and celebrity, who lost her life recently at age 27. Whatever the official explanation for her untimely death, speculation inevitably centres on her drink and drug usage as a likely contributing factor to her demise. On one point all commentators agree; the loss of someone so young and so prodigiously talented is a waste, a crying shame.

Passion and loss. Reckless waste and love. It was passion that led Christ to the cross. What a pity it seemed, that such an inspiring figure, whose words carried such power, should die in such a seemingly senseless way. If the cross was the true end of Jesus of Nazareth, there’s no way that Christianity could have swept across the nations. Thousands of others died in similar blood drenched futility. No one remembered them.

No, what makes Jesus different is what happened next. History changed when, as the letter to the Romans puts it; Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power by his resurrection from the dead.

There was no flower strewn grave, no token-surrounded shrine made by his mourning fans after he died. Jesus’ followers experienced something totally novel; their shock and sadness turned into amazed awe and overwhelming joy on meeting Jesus again.

This powerful awareness of resurrection life that Christians know leaves no room for hopeless despair. Christ has conquered death. Grief does not have the last laugh. Love lives on.

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