Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lifted Up!

Well it is Easter.  And Easter of course is all about resurrection.  We typically think about resurrection in terms of Jesus and the garden.  Or in terms of the "second coming", that great moment of transformation sometime in the future.  But is seems to me that this resurrection ought to have some significance and power - now.  Paul suggests that this should be true in Romans 6 when he writes "If we have been united with him [Jesus] in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. . . Now if we died with Christ, we believe we will also live with him."

Resurrection now!  The very nature of Jesus' resurrection reminds us that resurrection is very very now, very real.  Not vague past or hazy future, but concrete now.

I like what Anne Lamott says in one of her books.  "The thing about Easter is that Jesus comes back from the dead both resurrected and broken, with the wounds from the nails still visible.  He came back with a body, not like Casper or Topper, he didn't come back as the vague idea of a spirit returning.  No, it was a physical, a wounded body."

Resurrection now is earthy.  It is real, physical.  Not just in the sense that there is a real continuation of life, somehow, in some way, at some time, when we die.  But in the sense that it makes a difference in this world - now.  In this world with its brutality and death.  We need to bring the resurrection out of the realm of doctrine and theology, out of the past and future, and bring it into our lives now.  If we do not, we may well find faith ineffective, irrelevant, and powerless.

What does resurrection now look like? How do we experience it?  Paul in Romans 6 suggests it is a matter of giving ourselves over to God, being as Gerald May puts it - willing, experiencing the presence of the risen Jesus in our hearts, and being lifted up that presence into a new way of living and loving.

There are many passages in the Bible that gives us clues about what this might look like.  Be light!  Be salt.  Take care of the "least of these."  The other day I ran across these thought provoking words.  "Just look to see whose budgets are being cut these days, the old, the crazies, the children in Head Start. . that is where Jesus will be. . and that is where we should be."  Resurrection now looks like us, being with the old, the vulnerable - living out our faith, making a difference.

If the resurrection is real, we need a new lifestyle.  Well I can't speak for you.  If the resurrection is real I need a new lifestyle.  One that takes me new places, to new people, with a new focus and new priorities in my head and heart.  Perhaps I need to walk through life with that old and often misused phrase in my head... "What would Jesus do?"  Not pick up an AK-47 - that much I am sure of.  But what would that resurrected Lord do?  What should I do, if I have died with Christ and am raised with Christ, NOW.

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