Resurrection People 1

Posted by Fr. Tere on 04/01/2016

More and more the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking of us as “resurrection people.” This doesn’t mean that we’ve been resurrected, of course – that would imply we are immortal already! But it means we have been made a new people by the one and only who has been resurrected. It also implies living as the One who is resurrected. In light of that I want to share some messages about the Resurrection from various sources.

First, from Bishop Philip Jones of the Anglican Mission.

We are the people of the resurrection. The power of the resurrection lived in the apostles in the first century just as it moves through us today, spreading out into the world in mission, engaging political, economic, and social realms.

hands in chainsPeter Leithart (Reformed pastor) uses the term "passion play" to describe our mission into the world. He traces the missionary activity in Acts, especially of Paul. The pattern went something like this: preach Jesus, gain a following, provoke a riot, get stoned or imprisoned or dragged or chased out of the city, escape, repeat. As Leithart says, it is not a plan found in most textbooks of missiology, however, it is the most common one in Acts. Paul was also charged with violating religious and local laws. ‘These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also. They are all acting against the decrees of Caesar saying that there is another king, Jesus.’ (Acts 17:6-7) As Leithart further illustrates it is comforting to know that Paul was occasionally allowed a public platform to present his case, such as in Ephesus, giving us a variation on his missionary method: preach Jesus, provoke a riot, get arrested, take the opportunity to testify to public authorities about Jesus the King, move on, repeat.

Bishop Jones ends, “As people of the resurrection..., we are called to this path.” That phrase brings me up short – he’s just been talking about Paul’s examples. Paul shows us that winning new disciples of Jesus Christ is not always fun and games – it’s serious business.

Archbishop Foley Beach sent this as his Easter message: https://www.youtube.com/embed/L2rMncVty3c. His is a call to reach others with the transforming love of Jesus Christ, so they and we (sinners) can now or again have a relationship with Jesus.

Our bishop in the International Diocese, Bill Atwood, quoted the Collect for Easter from Our Modern Services (Church of Kenya):

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia! He broke the chains of death and Hades and gloriously resurrected and now lives and reigns forever. Through his death and resurrection, we have the assurance of eternal life. Help us, Lord, to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with you in the joy of his risen life. In your name we pray. Amen.

These bishops call us to a celebration of resurrection. The question is, How do we do celebrate? It is much too easy to celebrate in the old “name it and claim it” mentality, which says if we see something we like and name it, claim it – because God loves us he’ll send it to us.

This is a very American way of thinking, very individualistic. Jesus becomes my Savior. Instead of following John 6:37 (All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.), we can feel as though he rose only to save me or the people in my church or those in my denomination. With that feeling our only obligation is to go to church, raise our children there (so they become followers), give money, die. We forget Church is always plural – people, not person.

Resurrection Christians don’t live that way, according to biblical and historical accounts. Resurrection Christians are willing to talk Jesus, gain followings, provoke riots, get stoned/ imprisoned/dragged/chased out of town, escape, repeat.

beaten manAre you, am I, ready to chance losing friends to talk Jesus? Or to be told we are stupid, out-of-touch, idiots, ZZZZ-phobic? Or to be hated? Or to lose our job? What’s more important to us – being accepted or bringing people to salvation?

We each make our own decision, but does being a Resurrection Christian make for a comfortable hour (okay, hour-and-a-halfgrin ) on Sunday morning, then nothing else for Jesus on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday?

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