Easter 2017

It has been over five years and I am again brought back to N.T. Wright’s thoughts on Easter each time we gather to celebrate.

Despite a thousand Easter hymns and a million Easter sermons, the resurrection narratives in the gospels never, ever say anything like, “Jesus is raised, therefore there is a life after death,” let alone, “Jesus is raised, therefore we shall go to heaven when we die.” Nor even, in a more authentic first-century Christian way, do they say, “Jesus is raised, therefore we shall be raised from the dead after the sleep of death.” No. Insofar as the event is interpreted, Easter has a very this-worldly, present-age meaning: Jesus is raised, so he is the Messiah, and therefore he is the world’s true Lord; Jesus is raised, so God’s new creation has begun—and we, his followers, have a job to do! Jesus is raised, so we must act as his heralds, announcing his lordship to the entire world, making his kingdom come on earth as in heaven!

― N.T. WrightSurprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

How do we make His kingdom on earth as in heaven? By loving others. By caring for those in need. By campaigning for justice. By keeping your integrity. By taking care of the environment. By building hospitals and digging wells. By preaching, painting, singing, and sewing.

What we do with our lives in the now matters greatly because with them we are literally making earth more like heaven, or less like it.

Easter 2013

In the beginning of this year, I believe God taught me a very important lesson that I couldn’t have grasped by myself. About six months prior I remember swearing to myself that this particular experience could not make any sense, I would never understand, and it was stupid. Yet here I am now, thankful for my newly learned lesson. It’s hard not to see the mystical side of life when something used to hurt can now be used to heal. I’m not talking about a wound healing itself over time, but a wound provoking healing beyond what was initially damaged. Things that used to be signs of suffering, sadness, and loneliness can be used to help bring goodness, life, and hope.

Sometimes it is the little things that make it so evident to me that Heaven is actively crashing into, interacting with, and forever changing our world. But we aren’t just supposed to sit here and watch it happen either, we are called to grasp ahold of Heaven’s tendrils and help pull it in.

…left to ourselves we lapse into a kind of collusion with entrophy, acquiescing in the general belief that things may be getting worse but that there’s nothing much we can do about them. And we are wrong. Our task in the present…is to live as resurrection people in between Easter and the final day, with our Christian life, corporate and individual, in both worship and mission, as a sign of the first and a foretaste of the second.

― N.T. WrightSurprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

Easter blog posts

Easter 2012

For this year’s Easter post I’ll leave you with a quotation from a recent book I read.

The point of the resurrection…is that the present bodily life is not valueless just because it will die…What you do with your body in the present matters because God has a great future in store for it…What you do in the present—by painting, preaching, singing, sewing, praying, teaching, building hospitals, digging wells, campaigning for justice, writing poems, caring for the needy, loving your neighbor as yourself—will last into God’s future. These activities are not simply ways of making the present life a little less beastly, a little more bearable, until the day when we leave it behind altogether (as the hymn so mistakenly puts it…). They are part of what we may call building for God’s kingdom.

― N.T. WrightSurprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

My previous Easter posts if you’re interested.

Easter Redux

Easter has always baffled me. Not why we celebrate it, but how it happened. I know God resurrected, but that means that God had to die. God died. Now that is weird to think about. The Being that created everything died. Was there no God for three days? How does that work!?

This God-Man or Man-God…this Thing that is the Supernatural mixed with the natural…this Thing that is the Deity infused with flesh broke the rules of this world. It broke the rules of our world by entering and later broke the rules of our curse-death.

Adam/Eve cursed us all from that bite. You can’t really blame them though, how can you comprehend the impact of something that you have never experienced on an entire race? They didn’t know what death or sin were. But they caused it, and it has been our curse that has separated us from God. But God had a plan, to break this curse. How it happened, like I said, I don’t fully understand. It has some logic to it. To sin means death, and someone has to pay for that sin. So logically, if one who hasn’t done anything wants to atone for that sin, they can. But how can God atone for sin? God is perfect. God can’t die. God can’t have anything to do with sin.

Maybe that’s what broke the curse of death. It tried to claim something it couldn’t. Death had been afflicting humans one by one, so God placed Himself within a human and death couldn’t handle it. Jesus wasn’t an applicable parameter for death to take. It choked. Death broke. God finally upset the curse that satan tricked Adam into placing upon us. Now there is a way out of death, through Jesus, and Him alone.

He broke this curse, this cycle. He has beaten our captor. He has reclaimed us.

God brought us the cure-His one and only Son.

Is it wrong that I am so proud of that analogy of God breaking death’s parameters?  It is very computer sciencey, death being a function that accepts a MortalBeing as a parameter and when you try giving it an ImmortalGod that implements MortalBeing it breaks and throws OmgWhatJustHappenedException. It makes sense to me.

Death Broke, which means that sin is no longer an issue for us.  Sin no longer being an issue for us allows God to interact with us as He intended.  Our relationship with God finally being restored we can gather our self-worth not through our intelligence, not through how much money we make, and not through how attractive we are but through our intrinsic value of being solely created/fulfilled by God.  Since we can view ourselves as worth so much more than what this world can give us, we can see others in the same light, we can fix our relationships with other people; we must love others if we know they are a creation like us. Because of these three relationships being restored through Christ, our relationship with God, our relationship with ourselves, our relationship with each other, we can begin to do God’s work in this world and prepare for Christ’s return to finally restore the rest of His creation. I mean, if He has done an amazing job on the first three what makes you think he won’t make good on his promise for the fourth?

I can’t wait to experience the hike to the Bridge to Nowhere in a perfect, curse free creation–as God intended it to be experienced.