The resurrection (Mark 16:1-20)
“The Bible is not a script for a funeral service, but it is the record of God always bringing life where we expected to find death. Everywhere it is the story of resurrection.” (Eugene Peterson)
Thank you all for your continued feedback and comments, whether on the blog or via email or in conversation. I am not responding individually to the various comments on the blog, otherwise I wouldn’t get any other work done! But I am reading them all carefully and digesting and enjoying them!
Like some of you, I’ve struggled on a couple of days to spend time on this as I want to – I’ve lost my rhythm, gotten busy or distracted, or rushed things. But that’s okay. This is a relationship, not a religious ritual. And I am looking to develop a very strong habit of living in God’s word continually and making it a number one priority – way beyond 40 days.
The week after 40 days finishes, we will spend a Sunday asking the question “What next?” to make sure that we all press in and continue to develop this habit we are nurturing and developing in our lives. We don’t want to lose the ground that we have won. We will be putting together some further resources to help people. If you have materials that you have used and found helpful, drop me a line and let me know.
Last week I attended a funeral. I don’t like funerals. And I hate crematoria. There is nothing much about death and its surroundings to like.
I had a dream the other week. In the dream I was talking with someone that I know who has recently died. It was very vivid. I heard the words in the dream spoken by the angels to the women at the tomb: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
He is not here. He is risen.
The women in this story are coming to tend a tomb and a dead body. Instead they find an empty tomb and an angel who informs them that Jesus is not there, he is not dead; he has risen.
“The Bible …is the record of God always bringing life where we expected to find death…”
“It is the story of resurrection.”
Jesus was the first. We who are Christ-followers will follow him through death into resurrected life.
Death is not the last word.
But if we are looking at application (and we are), how do we actually live the resurrection life here on earth, here and now? I’ll let Eugene Peterson say it, as he says it so well…
“Resurrection takes place in the country of death.
The land of the living is obviously not a vacation paradise. It's more like a war zone. And that's where we Christians are stationed to affirm the primacy of life over death, to give a witness to the connectedness and preciousness of all life, to engage in the practice of resurrection.
We do this by gathering in congregations and regular worship before our life-giving God and our death-defeating Christ and our life-abounding Holy Spirit. We do it by reading, pondering, teaching, and preaching the Word of Life as it is revealed in our Scriptures. We do it by baptizing men, women, and children in the name of the Trinity, nurturing them into a resurrection life. We do it by eating the life of Jesus in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. We do it by visiting prisoners, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, healing the sick, working for justice, loving our enemies, raising our children, doing our everyday work to the glory of God.”
Where there is death and hopelessness and the tending of a tomb, may you encounter the risen Christ today! May you know the power and the hope and the glory of the resurrection life in all that you do.
“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 holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead…” (Eph. 1:18-20)