Sunday, March 23, 2008

some thoughts on resurection

Once again this Easter I wrestled with what to say on Easter.

What does the fact that Jesus rose from the dead mean?
Is it the quintessential proof that Jesus was indeed God? YES!
Is it that God shows his ultimate power in defeating death, evil and sin in the world? YES!

But what meaning, importance and reality does that historic and once in a life time occurrence of a dead man coming to life have to do with you and me in and our lives in the world today?

How do I experience and live in the resurrection?

Then John Creasy said to me in our Midrash conversation at the Quiet Storm on Tuesday: “you have to be around death to experience resurrection.”

That is what I preached on this morning. Here are some other thoughts on experiencing the resurrection:

The Resurrection narratives are not a picture of survival after death; they record how a totally new mode of being has arisen in the Universe... A new mode of being has arisen. That is the Story. What are we going to make of it? - CS Lewis

“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10-11)

The Early Disciples had little ritual but a mighty realization. They went out not remembering Christ, but experiencing him. He was not a mere fair and beautiful story to remember with gratitude – he was a living redemptive, actual presence then and there. They went out with the joyous and grateful cry. “Christ lives in me!” - E. Stanley Jones

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that can be invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:18-21)

The crowning evidence that Jesus was alive was not a vacant grave, but a spirit-filled fellowship. Not a rolled away stone, but a carried away church. - Clarence Jordan

...if the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you (Romans 8:11)

Is this [resurrection] mere figure of speech, wishful thinking, a piece of pious rhetoric? No, this truth is the most real fact about our life; it is our life. The Jesus who walked the roads of Judea and Galilee is the One who stands beside us. - Brennan Manning

Christ has Risen Indeed!!!


alyssa said...

Thanks, BJ. It was nice to be able to read this since I missed it Sunday.

Karen said...

hey bj, this is one of those sermons I am going to remember for a long time. It made me think of the movie Shadowlands about CS Lewis, in which he asks, does God want us to suffer? and he says yes, we are made perfect in our suffering... It's like, if we are content with our world and our stuff now, how can we be dependent on God and die and be resurrected? Another thing Lewis says in the movie is when his wife is dying: "the pain now is part of the happiness then". I think this describes death and resurrection, and describes our existence now as God intended, I think, the already/not yet.

And so you asked how does this apply to our lives. As you were preaching I was thinking how many of us really accept our death, the fact that apart from Christ, we are just dust - literally. I think few of us really do. It's hard! We tend to have pride in our little lives and what we've done so far. But truly, at least sometimes we all feel like we live in quiet desperation, so much so it's like white noise in the background. How many of us live faithfully to the point of saying everyday, "God I need you so much that apart from you I am nothing"? (I am definitely guilty of this also.) I think what we need in the (American) church is more risk-taking. We like so much to be comfortable in order to feel OK about ourselves -- or to feel numb from ourselves. Imagine, for instance, if everyone just watched 30 min less TV and talked to someone - their child, spouse, or neighbor. I don't even know anything about who my next door neighbor is. How are we going to know what resurrection is if we don't accept what our reality is apart from Christ, and reach out to what it is with him?

(sorry that was long, a little too much time on my hands)

Granfalloon said...

glad to find you on here.
I miss the Quiet Storm sessions.