As I was preparing for my day, I was struck with an interesting concept for spiritual formation and discipleship. It’s not likely new in the grand scheme of discipleship…in fact it may not even be new to me. What I do know is that it struck a particularly strong chord with me today. So the question is, what would it look like to practice resurrection as a spiritual discipline or discipleship practice?
As I bask in the afterglow of an especially meaningful Easter, resurrection as a present reality is more tangible to me now than at any time I can remember. From a theological perspective, I’ve known resurrection as both an after death reality and a here and now reality. Resurrection isn’t simply a hope that is held in trust for us until we die, it is a power and a hope we draw from every day of our life of faith. With all of the challenges that I’ve been through this past year and the healing that I’ve experienced, the promise of new life is more tangible for me. Head knowledge has become heart knowledge. The heart knowledge has tapped a well spring of strength, courage and vision that had largely been buried or, at the very least, obscured by the stuff that still cluttered my life. The key to practicing resurrection as a spiritual discipline is to live out of this heart knowledge, out of the lived experience of God’s grace.
So, begin where you are. Where have you experienced healing in body or in spirit? Remember a time when you “woke up” out of the haze of conflict or trial and you saw the world around you differently. Remember one of those “a-ha” moments when there was new insight or new awareness of God’s presence in your life. Reach back into your experience and remember one of those times. What was it like? What went through your heart? Have you got that time, even if it is only a moment (and a fleeting one at that)? The discipline of practicing resurrection is to continue to live in the power of that experience. Make no mistake, this is not about freezing time and arresting the clock. Practicing resurrection is about creating more and more space in our life for that power (and it is Spirit power) to work at healing, transforming, refining and clarifying our life, our practice and our witness. Practicing resurrection is about an active life of prayer, journaling and reflection. It is about allowing the Spirit, in concert with our disciplines, to create more and more space in our life to experience that power at greater breadth and greater depth.
Imagine it this way…you’re standing in the middle of a dirty floor with a broom. You look down and you realize that you’re standing on the only clean place on the floor. Yet you don’t concentrate on how dirty the rest of the floor is, you realize you’re standing in a clean place and it gives you joy and peace to be in that place. Then you begin to realize that by using the broom, you can expand that clean area a piece at a time. Bit by bit, the floor becomes clean, your joy increases because there is more and more room that is tidy and ordered.
Practicing resurrection is an intentional discipline of living into the hope we find, whenever we find it and wherever we find it. If it is fleeting, we don’t lament what isn’t there, we revel in the experience we’ve been given and open our self to new and deeper experiences of the Spirit. The more we learn to practice this life of hope and power, the more we realize that this is the real world. This life of resurrection is the life that God intends for all of us through the grace in Christ. We need not be mired in the stuff of this world. It is fleeting, finite and base. Resurrection is life, beauty and promise.