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The Resurrection: You Don’t Get It; It Gets You (via Will Willimon)

Will Willimon on why human understanding never expects resurrection:

Mary’s perfectly logical, understandably natural need to pursue the body of her beloved Jesus has not yet room for the miracle that has happened. The voice of Jesus has called to her, across an abyss of death, thrown a line to her across the cavernous expanse between her little logic of red wheelbarrows and all that and the power of God to work wonder. Like the voice that shatters glass, the voice of Jesus has shattered Mary’s world, called her forward to new possibility, new future.
Mary is now able to obey, to tell the others, “I have seen the Lord” (vs. 18). She has moved beyond her preoccupation with the corpse to an encounter with Christ. Her cause-effect logic is replaced by the larger logic called faith. She has been encountered, not by the dead corpse she thought she was seeing, but by a living Lord who is on the move and will not be held by us on our little logic.
Now there are at least two ways to think about things: cognition has two paths to the point of recognition. The first is, say, when you’re working on a tough math problem and after much effort you say, “I got it!”
The other way is, say, when you go to a great movie, and it changes you, lays hold of you to the very depths and you emerge changed. In that case, you don’t say, “I got it!” No. It gets you.

Read the whole post here.


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Christian Funerals – Grief With Hope (via Constantine Campbell)

At Desiring God Con Campbell reminds us that if Jesus can weep before the grave of a friend we shouldn’t be in too much of a rush to make our funerals too happy.
From the post:

Sometimes our Christian funerals are too happy. Yes, we believe our loved one is with Jesus. Yes, we believe that he or she will rise again. We do not grieve as those without hope. But we still grieve. If Jesus weeps for Lazarus, who he knows will not stay dead for long, it is appropriate that we weep for those who have died. They are with Jesus, but we will not see them again in this life. We will not speak with them or embrace them again here. It is right to grieve — with hope, yes — but still grieve.
After he wept for Lazarus, Jesus went to the tomb and ordered the stone to be removed (John 11:38–39). Martha, who so far has shown great faith and insight, doesn’t fully understand what’s going on. “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days” (John 11:39). Jesus responds to Martha with a mild rebuttal, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40). What he is about to do will reveal the glory of God.
After praying, Jesus shouts, “Lazarus, come out!”
And he does.
The Resurrection and the Life
The raising of Lazarus is an incredible miracle. It is the seventh, and final, sign in John’s Gospel. It is also the greatest sign, as though the others have been leading up to it. Each one is more spectacular than the last, climaxing now in Jesus’s authority over death itself. While Mary and her friends knew from the previous signs that Jesus is powerful — he could have prevented Lazarus’s death — they did not believe he had power over death itself. The seventh sign proves them wrong.
This is why Jesus told Martha that he is the resurrection and the life (John 11:25). He embodies resurrection.

Read the whole post here


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Because He Lives by Matt Maher & Co – Sunday Songs

Matt Maher and a cast of thousands have a song called Because He Lives, which is not the same as the song by the Gaithers, but still manages to borrow a few lines from the Gaither lyrics, so they’re credited along with five others as composers of this.
For all the credited composers it is a likeable song because it’s not long, makes its point and makes it well.
This is a lyric video.

The lyrics:
1.
I believe in the Son
I believe in the risen One
I believe I overcome
By the power of His blood
Chorus 1.
Amen, amen
I’m alive, I’m alive
Because He lives
Amen, amen
Let my song join the One that never ends
Because He lives
2.
I was dead in the grave
I was covered in sin and shame
I heard mercy call my name
He rolled the stone away
Chorus 2.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow
Because He lives, every fear is gone
I know He holds my life, my future, in His hands

Chris Tomlin | Daniel Carson | Ed Cash | Gloria Gaither | Jason Ingram | Matt Maher | William J. Gaither
© 2014 Hanna Street Music (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)/ Sony/ATV Tree Publishing / I Am A Pilgrim Songs (BMI) / Sony/ATV Timber Publishing / Open Hands Music (SESAC) / Alletrop Music (BMI) (adm. by Music Services) / worshiptogether.com Songs (ASCAP) Worship Together Music (BMI)sixsteps Music (ASCAP) sixsteps Songs (BMI) S.D.G. Publishing (BMI) (adm. at CapitolCMGPublishing.com)


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The Compelling Example Of God Working All Things For Good (via David Burke)

David Burke provides an Easter reflection that reminds us that in puzzling and painful providence the perception of the “goodness and the perfections of his providence may often only be seen through the rear vision mirror and not through the windscreen or side windows.”

The death and resurrection of Jesus is the compelling example of God working all things for the good of those who love him. As we meditate on it, we have confidence quietly to stay loyal to the Lord as we wait to see the resolution of our painful and puzzling providence. The patriarch puts it well yet again, So do not fear, I will provide for you and your little ones (Gen 50:21).
Read the whole post here.


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Resurrection Is In The Very Nature Of God, And In The Lives Of Christians, Too (via Ron Block)

Ron Block gives a very person testimony about the power of the resurrection life.
In conclusion:
Resurrection is in the very nature of God, because he is Life. We get that. But what we sometimes miss is that same nature resides in us by the Holy Spirit, and we are alive with that same life. 2 Peter 1:4 says we are “partakers of the divine nature” through knowing Christ, that we have everything we need for life and godliness in him who called us to glory and virtue.
It’s not simply being saved from God’s wrath, and hell, but, as Paul puts it, “….do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:2-4)
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (Romans 8:3b-4)
The Resurrection, for the believer, means a redefinition, a renaming of ourselves, a reorientation. It means life comes out of death. It means we know there is eternal life in us, life in this seed that is planted again and again in dark, muddy ground, and Life will always spring up out of death, again, and again, and again, until the day there is no more death.

Read the whole post here.


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The Dead People In My Phone

Our local newspaper will publish this some time or another.

I felt a little relief lately in finding out that I wasn’t the only one whose phone contains dead people. There were recent media reports about the reluctance of some people to delete the details of those who have died from their electronic contact list. I am one of those people.
As I scroll through contacts I see relationships that span decades, and also a significant number of folk I’ve known since I moved to Mount Gambier.
Seeing the names is an incidental activity. I don’t just sit and look through my contacts on a regular basis. Usually I want to call, message or email someone. Occasionally details need to be forwarded to other people.
So the names of friends, colleagues, family and others flash before me. Sometimes later I’ll think of them; of the circumstances of our meeting, times we’ve shared together, the time of their death.
From time to time I wonder why I don’t delete their contacts. Each time I know why they remain. It’s not because I’m a terrible administrator (though I am a terrible administrator). It’s not because of some phobia. It’s because I like them being there. I like these unplanned and random remembrances of friends departed.
Deleting their names would take these encounters away. And it would make them seem to be gone. But they’re not really gone.
Jesus recalled that when God spoke of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob he said ‘I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’, not that he was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jesus believed that God spoke that way because Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, along with all of the faithful, had not departed to non-existence but still existed in relationship with God.
It always makes me a bit sad when I attend the funerals of folk who I know believe in a life beyond this one, but those gathered get told the only way they now exist is in the memories of their loved ones. That’s not the belief that carried these folk through life and comforted them as they faced the grave. Their hope and belief should at least be acknowledged and not ignored or set aside as people give remember their lives.
I don’t keep those contacts in my phone because my memories of these folk are all that exists of them.
I keep them because they remind me, that even though they are not physically present, that they lived and died believing that they would continue in relationship with God after the grave through trust in Jesus who is the resurrection and the life.
I keep their details to remind me that our contact though interrupted, will one day resume.


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There’s Only One Way To See The Risen Lord Jesus

I’ve been continuing in post-easter mode with articles for the Border Watch.
Next week will have a remembrance theme.
I’m conscious that not everyone will read all of these, so even though themes overlap they have to stand on their own.
I’m also working on the idea that there will be a committed readership that identify as Christian. It may be larger than the readership among those who don’t.
A distinct part of the discipline of these is the title. It’s an area that I struggle with.
I was working under ‘A Singular Perception Of The Risen Lord Jesus’.
The editor decided on ‘Individual Perception Varies Resurrection View’.

Do you remember ‘dress-gate’ back in late February? It seemed like everyone on the internet was arguing about a picture of a dress that some people believed was blue with black highlights, while others, seeing the same picture, were adamant the dress was white with gold features.
Twitter exploded with whiteandgold and blueandblack hashtags, families and friends were divided, celebrities weighed in with their opinions via social media, and those with qualifications in Vision Sciences had a rare time in the spotlight (so to speak).
The best explanation seemed to be that colour was a construct of our brains and vision, with light, past experiences and other factors accounting for the differences in perception.
People can look at the same object and truly be correct in their own minds when they see it with completely different colours.
There are some people who propose a similar view about the resurrection of Jesus. The assertion is made that resurrection didn’t mean returned from the grave free from the power of death; but rather it meant that Jesus’ followers aimed to adopt his teaching and attitudes in their own lives and actions, and by so doing continue his ‘life’.
The argument would observe that the concept of resurrection and Jesus’ return are a metaphor for this shared conviction.
Everyone else would see an occupied tomb, but the disciples of Jesus perceived an empty one. With both being ‘right’ in their own minds.
The problem with this particular theory is that both the text of the Bible and the actions of the disciples seem to go out of their way to disprove it.
In Luke’s gospel, among others, the risen Lord Jesus is described in physical terms, able to be touched and eating food. It was not an idea or philosophy that came forth from the tomb, it was a person.
Similarly, in the Acts of the Apostles, the teaching of the disciples was about meeting the risen Jesus, not adopting a moral code or ethical precepts. Time and again, we observe the aim of their work was to see people in relationship with Jesus, not reform society.
Sometimes you might hear people say that they’re Christians because they keep the ten commandments, went forward at a rally, go to church every Sunday, or have lived a good life. If these are the only reasons folk think they’re a Christian or going to heaven, they’re not actually following that which the Bible teaches and the early Christians stressed.
The early church wanted to make sure people wouldn’t falsely fall into the idea that Christianity was whatever people wanted to make it to be. They guarded against the idea it was all a matter of perception.
Perhaps you’ve mistakenly been thinking that Christians are all about a moral and ethical values based on the teaching of Jesus. If that’s been the case please reconsider, and, instead, consider that Christianity is all about meeting the risen Lord Jesus.