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"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, con
cerning the word of life -- the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it ...." I John 1:1-2 (RSV)

"After his resurrection the disciples saw the living Christ, whom they knew to have died, with the eyes of faith (oculata fide)." Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, III, 55, 2 ad 1, as quoted in D. M. Stanley, Jesus in Gethsemane (New York, Paulist Press 1980).

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Easter 2016 - Back to Surprised by Hope

read N.T. Wright’s Surprised by Hope back in 2011 and decided to come back to it this year as an Easter celebration over the 50 days of Easter, which run from Easter to Pentecost.  This time I’m reading the book along with occasional glances at the  Surprised by Hope Participant’sGuide, where at page 26 Wright says:

The resurrection of Jesus is more than a belief that his body was dead and came to life again, though this is quite true. It is an awareness that there was a cosmic explosion when Jesus rose again, and the power and repercussions of this reality echo through the ages to our day and into eternity. From the earliest years of the church, followers of Jesus were uniform in their affirmation and confidence that Jesus had raised, bodily, from the dead. He had come through death, out the other side, and a new reality was born. The tomb was empty! The risen Jesus had met with them, taught them, shared meals, and instructed them. The one who had died on the cross was alive again. Because Jesus has risen, we have more than confidence that our eternity is secure. We have an invitation to become his ambassadors in the world today. Through his church, Jesus wants to bring justice, lift up beauty, and lavish his gifts on the earth. And the primary way he plans to do this is through you and me.

As to that last sentence, the kingdom of God is not going to come "through you and me."  God will finish that work himself.   But I get Wright's point.   Believers are part of God's plan of redemption, as participants in Jesus'  "new creation" or what he called at his last supper the "new covenant."  I've been listening to 1 Cor. chapter 15 over and over during this Easter time, where Paul calls the resurrected Jesus the "first fruits" of this transformed world.  He is alive today and he  continues to work, to "bear fruit,"  through his people.   That's the message of Surprised by Hope. 


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