Why I Believe in Resurrection
Believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead has profound implications for the way we conduct our lives as Christians. It lifts our eyes from the challenges of our everyday existence to reflect upon the eternal significance of our identity. It reminds us that we are created by God with eternity in mind. I wonder if you are a bit like me. We get caught up with the every day pressures of our daily responsibilities. We find ourselves often overwhelmed by the demands of family and work that we forget to take account of the bigger picture.The Resurrection invites me to think out of the box!
The needs of our fellow human beings, and the injustices that so many encounter in the world today can also obscure our thinking. There is a phrase, no doubt you have heard it, “Ah he’s so heavenly minded that he’s no earthly use.” The resurrection challenges that idea, it suggests that being reminded of eternity makes us better citizens here on earth. The Christian is called to live as a citizen of the Kingdom of God. It is not to disparage the world, in fact the world is given a greater significance because of the resurrection.
At Christmas we celebrate the idea that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. In other words God became one of us. We can only truly understand the significance of the incarnation when we view it from the standpoint of the Resurrection. This is the amazing cosmic act that reveals a new dimension to life itself. It is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead that gives his birth significance and meaning. If there had been no resurrection there would be no incarnation to talk about. We would be as St Paul says in Corinthians “of all people most miserable”. The Resurrection helps make the incarnation believable and in so doing opens up a door into eternity.
The Resurrection turns us from people of despair to people of hope and meaning. Why does the resurrection change and affect me? Because Christians believe that Jesus Christ was not only the Son of God but he in some way became everyman or everywoman. He became you and me. The incarnation takes us into another dimension of thinking. We call it in theological terms “the one and the many in Christ”. He took upon himself the identity of us all, yet without sinning. We call this the incarnation. We who have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God have been touched by that Glory.
His death on the cross is God’s great act of redemption. In his death he identified with sinners and in his resurrection he made sinners into a new race of humans. Therefore we are more concerned with knowing more about the mystery of the crucified and risen Christ. This event of death and resurrection speaks of an experience that moves beyond time and space into eternity. In our Reformed tradition this is one great historical event that stretches beyond time into eternity. It cannot be repeated. Through his death and resurrection we who believe become one with him. We are born of the Spirit and become a new humanity. This is what Paul means when he says “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” This is what Jesus meant when he said to Nicodemus that he needed to be born again (see John 3:3).
Now the interesting thing is that all this is expressed in the Sacraments. Calvin engages with this idea, suggesting in Communion we are not only reminded of the act of God towards us and our human response. We are also to think of this new relationship forged by the risen Christ through his death and resurrection. Thus we are being made into a new humanity. The bread and the wine speak to us of our new unity in each other and in Christ Jesus. It is this unity with Christ that lifts us beyond our time constrained bodies, beyond our present worries and anxieties into a new place. We are reminded of this in the ‘Sursum Corda’ (one of the prayers we all say during the Communion).This new place enables us to continue to live and move and work in time because eternity has been placed in our hearts by the faith of the Son of God who has loved us and gave himself for us (see Galatians 2:20). Absolutely amazing!
So we are people of the Resurrection, living breathing and proclaiming the new life in the midst of an old order that is passing away. It’s time to start living in the light of the bigger picture, it will definitely change your mindset. Happy Easter!
Stone rolling God,
Stone rolling God,
you surprise us all again.
Each act of grace surpasses the last.
You roll a stone
and reveal a mystery;
you roll a stone and the dead come to life;
you roll a stone and angels speak to humans.
You are such a generous God.
Your acts of grace are inspirational,
your talk of forgiveness is breath-taking.
your acts of forgiveness are life-changing,
your love stretches beyond the boundaries of reason.
You are a most unreasonable God!
You turn logic on its head,
you celebrate the weak,
you inspire the elderly,
you revive the young,
you roll a stone
and the world is changed for eternity-
all in the roll of a stone!
What a roll!
What a stone!
What a Saviour!
(from Sanctuary – Street Prayers by Albert Bogle )