Kind of like that Parachute Club song. Now that the song from the Parachute Club is in your head (for most Canadians over the age of 35), welcome to Resurrection Sunday.
This Resurrection thing is problematic for a lot of people, some Christians included. Someone once said to me, “You expect me to believe that Jesus was really dead and miraculously rose up out of the tomb? I have not seen or heard of anyone resurrecting after being dead for so long. Besides, the Bible was made up by a bunch of people trying to sell a religion and all that religion has done has created violence and abuse.”
Well, yeah, I kind of do hope people will believe in resurrection in general, and, in this life time, not some far off post apocalyptic place. I mean here. Now. Today. (To explore the religious violence issue, I recommend reading Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks book “Not in G-d’s Name”.)
It is easy to confuse reanimation with resurrection when it comes to bodies. Our society is obsessed with zombies but that is reanimation of sorts. And most of us don’t believe in reanimation, so why believe in a resurrection? It depends on how we see resurrection in corporeal and spiritual terms. The concept of physical resurrection was well recorded by the writers of the Bible long before Jesus time. Elijah rose a wee lad from the dead (by the way, Elijah was one of two people to NOT die in the Bible. The other is Enoch. They were both beamed up to into the sky. Who says the Bible is boring?) Elisha, follow up prophet to Elijah had someone thrown on to his dead corpse in the tomb and the body resurrected after coming into contact with the body. The list goes on, but, there are nine people in total to be resurrected in the Bible.
But there are other resurrection stories in religions older than Christianity. Zen Buddhism also has a school of thought that believes in a bodily resurrection (two people were said to have resurrected). The difference between Christianity and Zen Buddhism is that the central story of Christian identity is based on this resurrection.
Jack Kerouac famously said about resurrection “It is true even if it didn’t happen.” So what is true about it?
In Empire of Dirt, I wrote about doing work in the figurative tomb of our soul after a crucifixion moment. Today I’m talking about coming out of that tomb by the trans formative power of God that is in us and in all human beings. Resurrection from this perspective shows us that nothing can separate us from being made in Divine Image and being loved by God. Resurrection is also about going past the limiting beliefs we have about ourselves and situations. It is about possibility- of new life emerging in the most dire of circumstances.
Once we purposely choose to be open resurrection rather than the circumstance or person that has crucified us, we change subconsciously and consciously. Once we leave the tomb of the soul work that we do and allow the Divine to change us, we change. But only if we allow the Divine to change us. This requires us to change how we see our lives. It requires us to shift how we perceive things. It requires being vulnerable to explore. The women at the tomb went looking for a dead body. They didn’t go looking for a living person. They had an expectation of finding a dead teacher. That is not what happened. When they saw for themselves (or were told according to Luke’s Gospel), they had a choice- believe or not. If they did not believe Jesus had risen, their life would be one filled with grief, sorrow and pain. If they did believe, there was a new reality and a new possibility.
When we are faced with such a choice in our day to day lives, we often choose the option that involves grief, sorrow and pain because it is easier to deal with than the possible hurt of a false hope, which would be a double whammy. Hurt upon more hurt. But, if we choose the second option which is the more unbelievable one with greater possibility, it can be life changing.
How many times have we gone to sleep with one attitude and unintentionally woken up with another? What would happen if we were intentional about that transformation? Think of the possibilities! But be warned, it may take a lot of times to do the work and be open to possibilities. Then again, it may happen in one moment.
As far as the bodily resurrection, John Dominic Crossan, world famous Biblical Scholar and author of several books on the historical life of Jesus, says it best: “I leave what happens to bodies up to God.”
A Prayer of Resurrection
Jesus died and rose again. I do not know how this happened and my mind has trouble with this story. But my heart is open to possibility, that the power that raised Jesus from the dead is the power that resides in me as a person made in your Image. I do not know how this will happen, but I am willing to see what you will show me. I do not want to be in the tomb of my circumstance, emotions or hurt any longer. I’ve done the work. I have examined myself. Please, transform my life so that situations, circumstances and beliefs that do not serve me or the world, are shifted into new life. I am open. I am willing. I am waiting. Amen.
Lyrics for Rise Up, by the Parachute Club
Oh rise and show your power (rise up rise up) were dancing into the sun
It’s time for celebration (rise up rise up) spirits time has come. We want lovin’ we want laughter again, we want heartbeat we want madness to end, we want dancin’, we wanna run in the streets ,we want freedom to live in this peace. We want power, we want to make it ok , want to be singin’ at the end of the day, children to breathe a new life ,we want freedom to love who we please *(rise up rise up) oh rise and show your power (rise up rise up) everybody dance into the sun (rise up rise up) it’s time for celebration (rise up rise up) the spirits time has come Talkin’ ’bout the right time to be workin’ for peace ,wantin’ all the tension in the world to ease, this tightrope’s gotta learn how to bend, we’re makin’ new plans gonna start it again. Rise up now. It’s time, it’s time, it’s time