Practice Resurrection

Jesus’ resurrection is the pivotal point in God’s plan for us. The Risen Jesus looks back at the life events of the historical Jesus and transforms them into a power source for our spiritual growth here and now. The Risen Jesus looks to the future and pours forth his Spirit to guide and empower us.

Yet, the cloud of a thousand-year-old, distorted theology of Redemption that ignored Jesus’ resurrection hangs over us. We can’t hope to change long-standing attitudes easily. How do we become the resurrection people God intended us to be? We must practice resurrection. Our practice will grow our life vision into the Christian Vision.

Resurrection of a Lifetime. Jesus’ resurrection transformed the historical Jesus’ lived experience into a sacramental power source for us. But this abstract notion is difficult to grasp and to make real in our minds and hearts. Therefore, let us use our imaginations to practice resurrection of Jesus’ lived experiences. Let us not only imagine Jesus rising from the dead, but also his life experiences and words as well. Think of Jesus’ life events as many thousands of points of light and imagine them also rising up from the dead with him into the living present. Perhaps even envisioning his life experiences and words as so many tablets dancing up from the dead along with Jesus.

In fact, his words and lived experiences have a new life of their own because they have become sources of power for new encounters with Jesus and sources of power for our transformation into the ongoing incarnation of the Risen Christ within us. Imagine whatever works for you and helps you enter into the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. Practicing union with the historical Jesus will help us enter into his resurrection..

Resurrection within Community. Jesus has promised us that he would be with us wherever we gather in community in his name. Again, we are faced with an abstract concept and must use our imaginations to experience this reality. Think of Jesus’ disciples hiding in the Upper Room behind closed doors. Imagine the Risen Jesus here and now penetrating our communities, and most importantly, penetrating the closed doors of our minds and hearts, opening us up to his Spirit. Imagine Jesus saying to us: “Peace be with you!” and breathing his Spirit upon us.

It takes more than a gathering of Christians to form community. It takes the dynamic process of people sharing their faith and growing together—empowered by the Spirit. The Resurrection has made such community possible.

Resurrection of Life Events. Jesus both preached and lived the paschal mysteries of death, resurrection and transformation into new life.  By his death and resurrection, he was penetrated with the Spirit and exalted as Lord of the whole of creation. In life, Jesus had told us that we had to give up or surrender something, or undergo a death experience to receive new life. In our lifetime, we suffer many death experiences—the death of our youth, our wholeness, our dreams, our honeymoons. It is precisely in these life events that we are called to practice resurrection.

In each of these life events, we truly experience the pain of these life deaths. But in the separation we feel from our former lives, we are already being offered resurrection. We are being offered a new way of life. Of course, we will require time for readjustment to the new life and even time for grieving the old. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we will let go and let the Spirit empower us for our new way of life.

The poet Wendell Berry gave this advice: “Be joyful though you have considered all the facts….Practice resurrection. Practice coming alive again. Practice being a fiercely loving agent of Spirit, beauty and new life.”