Here we are at the resurrection, Easter Sunday, reading Mark 13-Luke 3. What with life, taxes, and whatever else is going on, do any of you feel like Easter is like someone who’s playing hide-and-seek and is saying, “Ready or not, here I come!”? Or maybe it’s just me. But anyway, whether or not we are ready, whether or not Lent has been a time of adequate reflection and preparation for what is about to happen, Jesus still rises. That is one of the things for which I regularly thank God. While many days it is the life Jesus lives while he walked on Earth that inspires me, there are some days in which all I can do is pray to the resurrected Christ to bring life into whatever dead thing tries to come for me and take me with it.
At the same time that I, too, need the resurrected Christ, I don’t need him without understanding resurrection – and his resurrection – in historical context. As Patterson says, resurrection, though uncommon to us, was quite common in the world of Jesus’ time. What was uncommon about Jesus’ resurrection was that it was Jesus – a nobody in terms of the Roman Empire – who was resurrected! In sum, “The followers of Jesus did not believe in him because of the resurrection. They believed in the resurrection because they first believed in him and in the spiritual life he unleashed among them. This is, finally, what the resurrection proclamation is about. It is about the decision to believe in Jesus and to give oneself over to the Spirit to be discovered in his life.” (p. 121) And, “To the followers and friends of Jesus, his death was important in its particularity – as the fate of him who said and did certain things, who stood for something so important to him that he was willing to give his life for it. That something was the vision of life he called the empire of God. They too believed in this vision of a new empire. If this vision was indeed God’s empire, then the bearer of this vision was not dead. No executioner could kill what he was. To kill Jesus, you would have to kill the vision. This is what the cross could not do.” (p. 127)
What do you know about resurrection, and the resurrection of Jesus, and do you agree with Patterson’s characterization? Why or why not?
This week we begin Part 3, “Managing Your Fears,” Chapter 1, “How YOU May React to Your Time Management” of the T+P+A Big Read 2019, The Lifelong Activist. As with many projects, beginner’s enthusiasm may give way to the less-thrilling task of maintaining what you have done with time management. Rettig summarizes how the chapters in this section of the book will help us move beyond our fears (which are often manifested as procrastination), equipping us to get unstuck.
C’mon over to People of the Books, our online book club in which we discuss this book and whatever else is on your mind or heart!
Rupp challenges us: “The journey of compassion does not stop with the end of this book. It has only begun. So much waits to be discovered, explored, and integrated into daily living. Compassionate presence will always require taking another step further into personal transformation. This way of life is continually evolving.” (p. 200)
How have you been challenged in this journey? What practices will you integrate into your life to continually evolve in the journey toward compassionate presence?
Check out the Find Your FBCO Map to find your local faith-based community organizing affiliate and connect with the people who are working together to live out their dreams of a more just world! What’s going on in your living of the Gospel? Let us know in the comments, in our e-mail discussion group, or on social media.
- Luther Seminary. “Enter the Bible,” n.d. http://www.enterthebible.org/.
- Patterson, Stephen. Beyond the Passion: Rethinking the Life and Death of Jesus. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2004.
- Rettig, Hillary. “How YOU May React to Your Time Management” in The Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way. New York, NY: Lantern Books, 2006. http://lifelongactivist.com/part-iii-managing-your-fears/1-how-you-may-react-to-your-time-management/
- Rupp, Joyce. Boundless Compassion: Creating a Way of Life. Notre Dame: Sorin Books, 2018.
- Williamson, Lamar. Mark. Interpretation, a Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009. https://play.google.com/books?id=Tg7WIdIw4o0C.