Even resurrection must die in order to be raised to newness of life.
To restrict resurrection to an historical event in the past and/or a wish for that past event to be replicated at-large in some non-distinct, hazy future is to turn resurrection into a belief system based on fantasy.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a vital and creative role for fantasy. We want out children to fantasize so that their world might not be constricted by the narrowness of our vision, which has become cramped by the seeming realities of eveπryday life. Some of us read the fantasy of science fiction literature as a way to expand our vision of the possible. We hire consultants to help us expand our sense of some of the fantastic possibilities which the immediate future might hold. But we seem to rely on theologians to redefine the past so that it continues to constrain us.
Resurrection is not so much a magical theological ideal as it is a beautiful poetic image, a resounding symphony, a spectacular work of art arising out of the bosom of Israel, preserving the grace of justice in the name of God.
Resurrection is much less a statement about the past and/or the future than it is a declaration about the present—a fantasy becoming a reality right before our eyes.
Resurrection is . . .
a story that enfolds me
a passionate experience
a relationship that transforms
a movement embracing a deep passion for life
a free gift that bubbles up and overflows into a people
the endowment of hope that constitutes a New Humanity
the reality of memory and experience that insists upon me daily
Resurrection is a breath of fresh air in the midst of the stale humdrum of daily living. Resurrection is something that irrupts within me, awakening me from my slumber, infusing me with energy to meet the needs of the day.
Resurrection connects me to Yeshua—to his life’s mission—stirring my passion for that which is beyond me. When resurrection irrupts, I sense a new presence within—a Yeshua presence. An abba-presence. It is as if Yeshua’s thoughts become my thoughts; his Way, my way. And, when I pay attention to what that presence insists, I become (in some small way) an abba-presence that disturbs the conventional world around me.
If I may cite parts of the old hymn:
My life flows on in endless song;
Above earth’s lamentation,
Thro’ all the tumult and the strife
I hear the music ringing;
I lift my eyes; the cloud grows thin;
I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smooths,
Since first I learned to love it,
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart,
A fountain ever springing;
When friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing?
So, what must die for resurrection to be raised to newness of life? Is it my fantasy that ALL was accomplished in the past on a cross and that I should focus my attention there? Or is it my wishful thinking that, if I keep my nose clean, I will be part of some grand resurrection in the future?
Actually, what must die is that part of me that wants to remain aloof, unencumbered by the toil and strife around me. “The peace of Christ [that] makes fresh my heart” is not a nice, pretty feeling that calms me down in the face of the world’s stresses. Instead, it is a rallying cry that asks me to search out those places where and those people for whom that “peace” is not present and do something about it. It may not be my job to fix it, but it probably is my calling to stand in those places, with those sorely affected, as together we confront the “principalities and the powers,” speaking a different kind of truth to them, a truth that probably sounds to many like fake news. So, here I stand, I can do no other! “How can I keep from singing?