Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Christ’s Resurrection and Ours

The resurrection of Christ, along with His crucifixion, is a cornerstone of the Christian faith. We affirm our faith in the resurrection of Christ when we say in the Apostle's Creed, "On the third day He rose again from the dead". But be careful not to leave the resurrection there. Christ's resurrection is not only the ground and hope of our resurrection on the last day, but of the very life we have with Christ right here and now.

The Bible tells us that the beginning of our life in Christ is a product of the empowerment of Christ's resurrection. It's as if the impact of Christ's "re-birth" from the dead empowers the rebirth of His people. We have various words and images to describe this power: conversion, regeneration, new birth, "born again". The apostle Peter describes it like this:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" 1 Peter 1:3

Peter links the resurrection of Christ with our "new birth". The very power that raised Jesus from the dead is the power that resurrected your dead heart to a living faith and hope! Truly this is an amazing mystery, one that goes beyond my capacity for explanation. So I will leave it to a poet to frame this mysterious connection (Mary Karr, "Descending Theology: The Resurrection" Poetry, January 2006):

"From the far star points of his pinned extremities,
cold inched in—black ice and squid ink—
till the hung flesh was empty.
Lonely in that void even for pain,
he missed his splintered feet,
the human stare buried in his face.
He ached for two hands made of meat
he could reach to the end of.
In the corpse's core, the stone fist
of his heart began to bang
on the stiff chest's door, and breath spilled
back into that battered shape. Now

it's your limbs he comes to fill, as warm water
shatters at birth, rivering every way."

The well wisher of your soul's happiness,

Pastor Tom

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