Usually when we talk about the idea of the resurrection, we are discussing whether Jesus really rose or we talking about the future hope of Christians in light of the resurrection of Jesus. Our pastor did that in his message on 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, but he did something else I’ve not usually heard in treatments on the resurrection. He talked about the way the resurrection should shape our living in the present.
He proposed four things we ought to stand against because of our resurrection hope: death, sin, vengeance, and suffering. What strikes me is that all four of these pervade not only the evening news but life all around us. And it seems to me that it is easy to become hardened to these things. We are shocked when several teachers and twenty children lose their lives at Sandy Hook. We don’t tend to be shocked when twenty or so young men die every month in our city because of gun violence. We tend to accommodate ourselves to this reality and just avoid the “bad” sections of town. We flip the channel and watch the Olympics instead.
Some “baby steps” for me (and I will emphasize that others may be led in different ways) in standing against death, sin, vengeance, and suffering:
1. Against death. I wonder if a personal step for me at least for Lent would be to swear off viewing televised violence. That’s tough. Among our favorite shows are ones like Castle, and NCIS. I’m also troubled by the fact that life expectancy is determined significantly by what zip code you live in or where you were born. Do I need to explore ways to give that support low cost immunizations, safe drinking water, and mosquito nets–all inexpensive ways to make a big difference in life expectancy?
2. Against sin. I need to look at acquisitiveness and discretionary spending in my own life. Do I live in the illusion that I can find life in my things instead of in the resurrection? Likewise, do my own purchases and obligations hamper my ability to bring the light of the gospel and life-giving help to others?
3. Against vengeance and retribution. Beyond wishing ill on the rude driver who cuts me off (which I will not defend) I cannot think of ways I seek personal vengeance and retribution. I need to think about ways our country pursues policies of vengeance and retribution and how I will respond as a Christian.
4. Against suffering. Rich taught that those who believe they will rise again are willing to suffer so others won’t. A baby step might mean taking the time and probably spending a bit extra to purchase goods and services providing a living wage and safe conditions for the workers. Sometimes in means dropping what I am doing to be with a friend at a hard time or someone exploring faith at a critical moment that could mean the difference of life or death for them.
Rich proposed something I’m still thinking about as well when he spoke of the resurrection appearances of Jesus and that as we incarnate a resurrection lifestyle, this is also one of the ways the Risen Lord appears to those who witness that life. What all this has to do with is bringing the future into the present, our future hope of resurrection into daily life. How are you bringing the resurrection life of Jesus into the present?
2 thoughts on “Living the Resurrection Now”
Powerful, challenging reflection. Thanks for it.
Reblogged this on Bob on Books and commented:
Friends, I posted today over on my church’s blog in response to a sermon on the resurrection from 1 Corinthians 15 exploring how our future hope might shape our present life.