Daily Archives: April 12

A Resurrection

This post is a contribution to the April Synchroblog: DO YOU LIVE UNDER A ROCK?As Christians we say we believe in the resurrection but sometimes it seems like we are living under a rock instead of living a resurrected life.  As Easter approaches take some time to reflect on what it means to live out the resurrection.  Does the resurrection make a difference in the here and now?  Have you seen evidence of the resurrection in the land of the living?  Would/Could resurrection life change anything/everything in the world/your community?  What does it mean to practice resurrection?  Join this month’s synchroblog and share your thoughts, reflections, opinions and stories as you consider the question “Do You Live Under A Rock?”

 

There are days when the life of Christ seems so present to me. When I see the world around me with a sharpness, when I experience a special insight, a full hope, a wonderful sense there’s so much more to this life. I want to let go all that which isn’t part of this new life. I want to press on into the life that is a resurrected life. My heart is strangely warm on days such as this. I believe. I know that the Jesus who walked out of that tomb calls me, empowers me, to walk out with him.

My trouble is that today I don’t feel like this. Today, I feel the struggle. I feel the gap between where I know I can be and where I am. I want to be someone who heals, who resonates an overflowing life, but I feel isolated, and silent, and with far too many distractions that clamor for my attention. The aroma of the tomb drifts past my nostrils and I falter. Maranatha, I cry. Our Lord, come.

Maybe that’s why I’ve been much more liturgically comfortable on Saturday rather than Sunday. That day between the cross and the resurrection fits my experiences so much more.

But the reality is that Jesus has been resurrected. This is much more than a nice religious sentiment. This is a change in reality itself. This means that my perceptions of death are not the final word, nor my experiences of frustration the end of the story. There is more. There is life.

Even now, there is life. What was broken is now whole. What was shamed is now glorified. What was crushed now stands. What was dead is alive. In the very place hope was lost, hope is reborn.

So what?

That’s the question. It’s rude and unseemly and terribly unEastery. It’s not even a good question for Lent. In Lent we’re supposed to mourn and let go, but we’re not really supposed to dismiss.

But really, Jesus rose again. So what?

Maybe this is the core question that is at the heart why I have trouble with Lent. I’m used to giving things up. I’m used to being humbled. I’m used to being among the powerless. I’m used to not having. I’m used to dashed expectations. I don’t need to be trained how to experience lack. I don’t need to let go of yet more to learn I need Christ.

I need to see Christ walking out of the tomb that is my own life.

Jesus is resurrected. This is the issue I need to ponder because it is the reality which I struggle to see represented in my own life. This is more than a testimony, after all, right? This is something that changes reality as we know it so should have a difference in how my life progresses.

And, I think, it does. But, as a Saturday Christian, I’m still struggling to see how this resurrected life makes a living difference.

The difference, I know, is one about my identity. Do I need to fight to give myself definition? To dominate and control and try, with all my effort, to make some sort of mark in this world so that somehow, someway, there might be an echo of my existence?

The resurrected life, however, seems to be one in which death is not the end, so I do not need to act like it is. If I am called to the resurrected life, then all that I carry with me — all my hurts, my frustrations, worries, fears, mistakes — aren’t baggage weighing me down. They’re part of who I am to be, redeemed with me in a new life.

The future is not something I need to fret over. Nor do I need to hustle and shine for the sake of someone else giving me an identity with their favor. If I live a resurrected life, my life is only by the grace and calling of Christ, who is the only one whose favor I should seek.

Do I need to impress others with what I have or what I know or what I can do? No. I get to serve others because I am freed from demanding their attention, or service, or response. The resurrected life means a life of freedom because in the resurrection my identity can only be found in Christ. I am free to live in a new way, for others, rather than in constant competition or expectation.

That freedom, however, is only a beginning. I have the freedom of no longer being in slavery to Egypt, but I do not see the Promised Land. I who live in the light of the resurrection do not always experience peace, and rarely rest. I am thirsty. I am hungry. I am battered. But I am called to live as though this is not the final reality. Because it isn’t. Is it?

Christ is resurrected. So what? That’s something I have to answer every single day, with every single interaction, living in the hope of a reality that is absolutely true but not yet fully experienced. That is a life of faith, lived out in response to the myriad of decisions which give me the option of choosing death or life, peace or violence, dominance or humility.

This is a wilderness. But it is a wilderness of promise. The resurrection matters, it transforms, it redeems. But I am called to step out and live within its promise, and not give into the grumbling that speaks of desperation, of slavery, of death. The resurrection promises a whole new perspective on my past, on my present, and into my future. If I have eyes to see such a perspective and courage to press on along its trails.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.

His love endures forever.

Check out the other great posts for this month’s synchroblog:

Phil Wyman at Square No More –  Apocalyptic fervor spurs benevolent giving

Marta Layton at Marta’s Mathoms – Getting Out From Behind The Rock

Mike Victorino at  Simply A Night Owl – Crawling Out From Under A Rock

John Paul Todd at E4Unity - Still Asleep In the Light

Brambonius at Brambonius’ blog in english - hiding the Resurrection life like a candle under a bucket?

George Elerick at The Love Revolution – (for)getting the resurrection

Liz Dyer at Grace Rules – I Will Answer That Question In A Minute, But First, I Want To Talk About Jesus

Jeff Goins at Jeff Goins Writer – Resurrection

Tammy Carter at Blessing the Beloved – Rock and a Hard Place

Kathy Escobar at the carnival in my head – little miracles

Christen Hansel at Greener Grass – Resurrection Rhythm

Alan Knox at the assembling of the church – Living The Resurrected Life

Christine Sine at Godspace – Palm Sunday Is Coming But What Does It Mean

Matt Stone at Glocal Christianity – Living the Resurrection

Steve Hayes at Khanya – Descent into Hell and penal substitution

Bill Sahlman at Creative Reflections – Do We Live Under a Rock of Belief?

Posted in missional, spirituality | 18 Comments

A Censoring

So, I hid the post I wrote yesterday. I didn’t erase. Just hid it from public view. It’s not that I’m embarrassed about it, or that I wish I didn’t write it. It’s more that, for what it is, it’s half finished rather than complete, and while I know what I’m trying to sort out, the state of not being entirely sorted out becomes a problem when it’s a topic that people not only hold near and dear but see as a very part of their identity.

But, even still, that’s not the biggest reason why I’m stepping back. Mostly it’s because the topic itself is near and dear to my own heart as well, stirring up issues and questions and musings that don’t have a resolution quite yet, and in their unresolved state such musings can serve more as an agitator than a peace maker.

And what I really need right now is peace. Peace within. I have thoughts, and opinions, and questions, but at the same time I know I’m not in a situation where such have the chance to be worked out in practice. In my in-between place, I agitate without application. And in doing that, do to myself what my big critique from yesterday was about. I pursue rhetoric without providing context for change.

The issue then becomes those other people, the targets of my frustration or my condemnation. Even if I add a whole lot of prefaces to say that it’s not personal but general musings at work, it’s still a fact that in exploring the context of church I am dealing with some of my own very deep personal hopes and frustrations. It is personal, because it’s something that has very deeply shaped me as a person. Churches have been where my identity has come into focus. So, as I explore, I can’t distance myself from this personal reality, even if my Thinking side says it’s totally rational and possible to do so.

Then, my goal in writing to seek more freedom becomes a tightening chain, in which I am enslaved to dealing with issues and topics that ignite my passions. At which point I burn out, putting aside writing and considering because as long as resolutions are still off in the mists I can’t quite see the light.

There’s also a bit of humility involved. Who am I? Sure, that’s the sort of question that could undermine the entire theological task altogether. At the same time, I wonder if there’s a lesson in provocation that doesn’t insist on a rational response but instead could be better served by learning how to quiet my soul.

Now this gets dangerously close to passivity. So, there are the two lines in the middle of which is, I think, the learning space where I must learn to sharpen my spiritual senses and hone my responses, learning that the way of peace isn’t something I think other people should get to doing, but something that, first of all, needs to resonate deep within my own soul. Only out of that well can I become a person who resonates a deep peace and hope and life to others.

The reality is that, no matter my theological ponderings on the nature and purpose of the church, I became a member of this particular church because of, primarily, a feeling like God really was calling me to do so. Whatever my role, and my role may simply be to learn how to not insist on a role and learn how to quiet my soul in the midst of memory-laden frustration, I need to seek the way of peace.

I have spent a lot of time grumbling in the wilderness. And even if it’s rational to point out there’s no water and the people tend to be starving, or at least starving in the sense they’re weary of the manna, I think I’m worn out with being included among the grumblers.

So, I have to find my way to express my musings, questions, insights, in a manner that’s not caught up in the passions of inner frenzy.

That doesn’t mean I’m not going to continue to try to express what’s on my mind, more that, in this moment, on this morning, I want to step back and make a check of my own state of being first.

That’s all terribly navel-gazing, I know. But, it’s navel gazing for the sake of making sure that, above all, I hold onto the bonds of peace with others, that I affirm my commitments to them–an affirmation that I committed to when I became a member of a particular church. That I, first of all, assert that if I have something to add it’s not meant as an expression of my own wan struggle for identity or dominance or position, setting myself in contrast to the leaders so that I can be, even if only in my mind, raised up to be someone important, with something to say.

I think that the Spirit has called me, and I think I have been given the sorts of strengths (Strategic, Ideation, Learner, Intellection, Context, INTJ, etc. and so on) which mark me as a particularly creative interpreter and possible bur. So, I have something to say, because like Jeremiah even if I know it’s bad for me I can’t help but talking sometimes. But I want to learn how to do so in the context of peace, not chaos, in the context of calm not frenzy. Because if I learn how to do this, I think that the constant storms of opposition or ignoring will no longer batter me about.

I want to keep my eyes on Christ, my identity in God, my path according to the Spirit. Because that’s where my life is truly to be found.

I’m tired of being a grumbler, even if I know my grumbling has sought to sound out answers for very persistent questions.

I want to be a healer, instead.

Not by trying to be someone I’m not, but by finding a way to hone my contributions, in the power and guidance of the Spirit, so that what is healing is a gift of the Spirit, processed through the identity Christ has given me, for the sake of real hope and renewal.

I honestly don’t know if I can find that. But, today, it is my prayer that this is who I would be.

Posted in 500 | 2 Comments