Are you still there? Jaclyn told me on my last post that the second somebody read the word “doctrine” they’d run away screaming. Madly. Sounds like fun!
Anyways, when our housegroup started meeting in fall, I made noises about wanting to talk about doctrines and how they actually affect life. Stuff like: the cross, the resurrection, the incarnation, the trinity, baptism, eucharist, God’s attributes (omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, justice, etc.) the atonement, and other things that probably have you running away screaming by now.
You see, those are big words and scare us a lot of the time. We also feel like they don’t really touch our lives much. Perhaps this is just because we never get around to talking about them. So, from here on in, I’m going to try to talk about various doctrines in such a way as to provoke us to thing about why they’re important and how they touch on our real lives. Here’s a quote about the doctrine of the resurrection:
…the resurrection, no the death of Christ, was the central fact of the gospel of the early believers… [it] proved that the new life that had already been present among them in the person of Jesus could not be quenched by killing the body.
The resurrection was a cosmic event only because it validated the reality and the indestructibility of what jesus had preached and exmplified before his death–the enduring reality and openness of God’s Kingdom. It meant that the Kingdom, with the communal form his disciples had come to know and hope in, would go on. …the fact that Jesus was not dead after all–and that when we die, we won’t stay dead–is what made the resurrection earthshaking, transforming good news.
Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines, pg. 37.
I guess that this quote, if nothing else, shows how different our context is from that to the early believers. Resurrection to them meant, “even if they kill me, they can’t take my life away.” Today we’re less inclined to think of the life we have as something that we even want! Most of the time we’re secretly wishing that we could live like the world does, and following Jesus means giving up on pleasure: taking up our “cross.”
Resurrection means that we have the life of eternity now. The life we are beginning to lead now is the one that will last forever. Death is no more than a transition from eternal life in a fallen world to eternal life in a better world. The life is within us. The kingdom is at hand, just close enough to reach out and touch.
And perhaps the fact that nobody can take our life away from us will come to mean something to us someday. Maybe somebody we’ll actually be oppressed and understand what that means. Anyways, there’s a few musings.