Tumbling in the Sand
The texts for Sunday, April 8,2012 (Easter): Isaiah 25:6–9; Psalm 118:1–2, 14–24; Acts 10:34–43; Mark 16:1–8
“I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.” – Psalm 118:17
Every year around Easter, there are all sorts of interesting arguments put forward about whether Jesus was really raised from the dead and whether that was a physical resurrection or a spiritual one and what resurrection would look like. I confess, I get caught up in these arguments, because I sure do have an opinion: I believe in a physical resurrection. I think it is important, because it says (it embodies!) that God cares enough about the physical world, about this physical world—you know, the one in which we live—to not simply abandon it in the end. And I think to claim otherwise is to claim that all things physical are finally disposable.
However, I don’t think the physical resurrection looks much like the zombie apocalypse. I think physical resurrection is about the re-creation of our bodies in the new creation. What that looks like, I have no idea…and generally, we move to words of poetry and justice to describe our hopes and dreams of this new creation. And I’m not really going to venture much of a guess either: I’m going to assume, though, that we will be recognized as ourselves—but it might take a second (or third) look. After all, Mary took a bit to recognize Jesus and two of his disciples walked with him for several miles and sat down for dinner with him without recognizing him. I also think that we will likely not all be paragons of some idealized physical form—Jesus still bore the scars. But, I imagine that we will be most truly ourselves and more alive than we ever thought possible.
Interestingly, you might have noticed that I switched from talking about Jesus’ resurrection to our own. And, you see, I think that that is the point. I think that sometimes we get kind of wrapped up in the arguments about Jesus’ resurrection and forget what it means for us. I think it is easy to get so wrapped up in the minutiae of what the gospel writers say and don’t say about Jesus’ resurrection that we forget to go the Galilee to meet him: we forget that the resurrection is for us: it is the promise that not only in the future will we not die but live, but that now the one with wounded hands and feet walks in our midst bringing the resurrection into the day to day. And realizing that, it seems silly to sit in the upper room arguing about the one who is beckoning us out to live eternally (fully) in the world.
Of course, I still love a good argument.