While it may not seem like it, the theme running through the Lectionary this month, could be viewed as ‘resurrection living.’
One of the readings in the letter to the Corinthians actually speaks of resurrection, while the others speak of living in ways that bring life both to others and to ourselves without using the word ‘resurrection’.
The Gospel reading from Luke 6:27-38 speaks of loving enemies, giving generously, lending without asking for repayment, and refusing to judge others.
These are all ways of living that bring life to others, and that also set us free from the forces of death, and bring us a deeper, more vibrant life.
In one of the Old Testament readings, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers and forgives them. It is a wonderful illustration of Jesus’ teaching – freedom from vengeance and bitterness for Joseph, and new life for his brothers.
We so often think of resurrection either as an event that happened long ago or one that is yet to happen at the end of time. But whether we project resurrection into the past or the future, we seldom consider it as a lived reality now.
We do not have to wait for some future judgement to experience resurrection. God offers us life, renewal, recreation, restoration, liberation right here and right now. Whenever we embrace the values and priorities of God’s Reign, and seek to bring life to those around us, we are living the reality called resurrection, because when we do that, the forces of death are conquered and life triumphs.
At the centre of Jesus’ teaching is what has become known as the ‘golden rule’ – treat others the way you want to be treated.
But, actually, Jesus invites us to go even further than that.
Rather than following the practice of the society around us, which is to love and serve those who offer love and service back to us.
Jesus calls us to love our enemies, and do good to those who treat us badly. Treating others well is not dependent on them treating us as we want to be treated.It is about treating people well regardless of how they treat us.
This may seem naïve and impractical in our world, but if we desire to break cycles of hatred, division, violence, and retribution, we can choose no other way.
Jesus did not ask for us to live differently from how he lived. He didn’t just teach this way of living, he put it into practice for himself. It did not mean that he did not confront evil when he encountered it. Love meant being willing to challenge corruption, injustice, and violence. But it also means that the door is always open for reconciliation, and forgiveness is always offered, even when it seems foolish.
As we move forward as a circuit (with loads of uncertainty, but certain of the risen Christ’s presence with us), how can you live more deeply into this resurrection-bringing life that Jesus calls us to today?
May our prayer be this month that God will teach us to live Jesus’ resurrection life in our own lives (and in our life together) every day. Amen.
Your brother in Christ