Okay, for me, this is the point of resurrection.
This is what I have come to believe; and what I manage to remember on bad days:
Our resurrections come from killing the ways in which we separate ourselves from the love of Christ.
Resurrection is real; it’s possible and it’s personal. It’s the murder of our most precious, toxic, graceless ways of being; and then their astonishing re-membering into something that can live.
And it’s entirely non-cerebral. Pain, not brain brings us to it. Acceptance of our isolation, recognition of our powerlessness, and the courage to hope are the tools which get us through it.
Most of us, Christians included, live our lives fighting resurrection; it goes against human experience of loss. We know that people die; we know that relationships die; we know nothing wonderful was ever lived twice. So we find bleak, irreverent ways of managing, and ultimately numbing, that human pain.
Here are some of the ways we may do it. We drink, (or eat, or exercise, or do drugs, or gamble, or work, or think), too much. Or we worship and idol-ise a human being. Some of us substitute sex for love. Or we wallow. Or purge. We rage. We theorise. Or we exercise servility. We sulk and bully. We envy and jeer. We withdraw. We withhold. We regulate. We deny joy by refusing hope and by risking nothing. Most dangerous of all, we judge. Not everyone does all these things; but most of us do some. If we do lots of these evasive things we reign as the tiny, shrinking gods of lonely kingdoms. And we do it because, though such control separates us from salvation now, it separated us from ancient pain – once.
If we cope this way, it’s not in our interests to believe in resurrection. For resurrection doesn’t happen on our terms. God doesn’t do terms. Resurrection is not something you negotiate.
So, of course, our temptation is to cling to these shabby old ways; to visit them, to cuddle them, to fondle them. And to theologise along the lines of: “Jesus died and rose again so that we don’t have to”. No. Jesus died and rose again so that we could trust the danger, the pain and the outcome.
So, I believe this: you consent to the murder of all your shabby, nasty darlings. And you wait in the dark, unclothed of childish things, for God-knows how long. In darkness you bear truths, remember happiness, pray honestly; after an unspecified time you collapse and succumb to hope and love. The tomb opens.
You see out, all self-built confidence destroyed, and risk a step forward; no longer a god, but God’s.
©Lucy Berry 2013
Written for REFORM Magazine