Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Resurrection Starting Now

"The earth shook and the stone in front of the tomb moved”
(Matt. 28.1-15).

The Christian narrative of the Resurrection is not some death-defying futuristic hope of a new “…life without space, without history, without environment, with no sensuous elements in it…” (C.S. Lewis); nor is it a matter of hitching a miraculous ride to some happy other-worldly paradise suspended in the sky. The Resurrection narrative "earths" the possibility of God remaking and renewing the present today, starting now. The early church clearly got it and they drew from the Resurrection the resources and strength they needed to form counter-cultural communities with a radically new “concrete social and economic reality” (Rob Bell). The old and tired categories of economic division - master and slave, rich and poor - and the older categories of prejudice and religious violence - Jew and Gentile, male and female, in and out - lost what imaginative and political grip they had on these communities. A newer, gentler, fairer and more inclusive world started to emerge right under the nose of the incumbent economic and political regime. The Resurrection narrative signaled the end of the old political order ruled by violence, fear, suspicion, and initiated in these alternative communities a newer re-imagined order of economic generosity, embrace, and social justice. These new communities, literally a collection of collaborating households in neighborhoods, were characterized by a distinctive practice of:

- economics (Acts 2.44-45; 4.32-37; 5.1-11; 6.1-7;11.27-30; Romans 15.22-28; 2 Corinthians 8.13-15; 9; Galatians 2.10)

- justice and a gifting of voice to the voiceless (Acts 2.1-21; James 2)

- hospitality (Luke 24.13-35 – two discouraged disciples make space for a “stranger” who turns out to be the Christ; Acts 2.46-47)7

- a new humanity (Ephesians 2)

- reconciliation and strengthening community (Acts 6)

- seeing God, private property, others and the world (Acts 2.42-43; Acts 4.34-37; 5.3-4; Philippians 2).

These new communities“… made the grace of God credible by a society of love and mutual care which astonished pagans and was recognized as something entirely new. It lent persuasiveness to the claim that the new age had dawned in Christ. The word was not only announced but seen in the community of those who were giving it flesh. The message of the Kingdom became more than an idea. A new human community had sprung up and looked very much like the new order to which (Jesus) had pointed. Here love was given daily expression; reconciliation was actually occurring; people were no longer divided into Jews and Gentiles, slave and free, male and female. In this community the weak were protected, the stranger welcomed. People were healed; the poor and dispossessed were cared for and found justice. Everything was shared. Joy abounded and ordinary lives were filled with praise (and a new sense of wonder)” (Michael Green).

What could this look like where you're at? What if we were to rehearse something of these stories of reorganization, renewal and resurrection where we live, study and work? What if we were to reinvent something of the economics, something of the hospitality of sight and space of these stories in our own neighborhoods? What difference would that make? What would our neighbours see? Who could we collaborate with to make a stronger neighborhood possible? The narrative of the Resurrection is the only prophetic alternative we have to the same old same tired stories of the “solution gridlock” tyrannizing our world. “It is (now) up to us to produce (new) signs of the resurrection in (our) present social, cultural and political world” (N. T. Wright). The story of the Christ-event, Jesus resurrected and the world reorganized and renewed, now lives on in you and me. Take that thought with you next time you go shopping, to study, or to work.

1 comment:

  1. THanks for this and I guess this ressurection is not possible without crucifixion we need to die to a number of values and cukture