Resurrection is at the core of Christian faith. Rev Dr Anita Monro reflects on how this dramatic part of the Easter story means renewal for our lives.
Jesus’ dramatic story has several acts. It’s not just about birth and death, it’s not only about healing and teaching, it’s also equally about resurrection. But what does that act of the drama signify? Why is it there? Isn’t the triumph of the remarkable death victory enough? Isn’t the resurrection just a denouement, a tying up of loose ends, a way of getting the divine person back to the heavenly place, and not stuck in an earthly grave?
The Basis of Union is adamant that we are commissioned for mission by a “Risen Lord” (paragraph one); and that we preach “the risen crucified One” (paragraph three). The resurrection is integral to the work of Christ: “In raising him to live and reign, God confirmed and completed the witness which Jesus bore to God on earth, reasserted claim over the whole of creation, pardoned sinners, and made in Jesus a representative beginning of a new order of righteousness and love” (paragraph three).
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25) His resurrection is a foretaste and promise of the renewal of the fullness of life. It is the beginning and the precursor of the renewal of the whole creation—spiritual and material, psychic and physical. The dramatic act of the resurrection of Jesus is the powerful proclamation that all things are made new by God and everything in its totality is renewed in Christ. Renewal of the whole creation is the dramatic end and purpose envisaged by God, and brought about in and through the work of Christ.
The third paragraph of the Apostles’ Creed proclaims “I believe in … the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.” This part of the Christian story to which we as followers of Christ give our allegiance reminds us that the gift of God in Jesus is about the renewal of the whole of life. It commits us to the welfare and wellbeing of the whole of God’s creation; and it asks us to take seriously the fullness of the promises of God for material as well as spiritual life.
What then does living out the commission of the risen Lord really mean in the face of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection? All of life is being impelled towards renewal in the person and work of Christ; and when we are gathered into that work, which is the mission of God, we are compelled to act in and for the whole of God’s good, flawed, redeemed, wounded, loved creation. This is God’s gift and this is God’s promise—resurrection life.
Anita is principal of Grace College, Brisbane.