Mark D. Roberts: Because of the Resurrection – an Easter postscript, part 2

April 23, 2015

This is a follow up entry to the Easter Quote we posted yesterday, by Presbyterian pastor Mark D. Roberts

Because of the resurrection, we reverence the cross.

Because of the resurrection, the cross is one of the best known symbols in the world.

Because of the resurrection, what was once the sign of horrific death is now a sign of life and hope.

Because of the resurrection, the death of Jesus is remembered, cherished, even celebrated.

Because of the resurrection, the Stations of the Cross lead, not to death, but to life.

Because of the resurrection, we are reborn into a living hope.

Because of the resurrection, we know that we too will live anew.

Because of the resurrection, everything is different.

Because of the resurrection, new life has begun.

Christ is risen!

He is risen, indeed!

From a 2011 devotional by Mark D. Roberts

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Easter Quotes – Mark D. Roberts: Without the Resurrection, An Easter Postscript

April 22, 2015

During the fourteen days prior to Easter, I was reflecting on the Stations of the Cross in preparation for a deeper experience of the reality of Jesus’ death, and therefore a greater celebration of his resurrection. Today, on the Monday after Easter, I want to add an Easter postscript.

Without the resurrection, the cross of Jesus really wouldn’t matter much.

Without the resurrection, we’d never have known about Jesus’ prayer on the Mount of Olives, where he submitted to the will of his Heavenly Father.

Without the resurrection, Judas’ betrayal of Jesus would have been long forgotten.

Without the resurrection, the Sanhedrin who condemned Jesus would have been seen as largely correct in their estimation of him as a blasphemer who needed to be silenced.

Without the resurrection, Peter’s denial of Jesus might seem like a judicious way to preserve his own life.

Without the resurrection, we’d probably never have heard the name of Pontius Pilate, unless we happened to take a class in Jewish history in the Roman Period.

Without the resurrection, the fact that Jesus was scourged and crowned with thorns would seem to be a sad but fitting end to one who pretended to usher in the kingdom of God.

Without the resurrection, Jesus would have been one more nameless individual who took up his cross on the way to dying a cruel death.

Without the resurrection, Simon of Cyrene would have disappeared into the dust of history.

Without the resurrection, the women who mourned for Jesus would have continued to mourn for a long, long time . . . not for only two days.

Without the resurrection, most of us would know very little about crucifixion, unless we had seen the movie Spartacus. (Of course there would be no Passion of the Christ film.)

Without the resurrection, the promise of Jesus to the thief, that he would join Jesus in Paradise, would seem like a bad, sad joke.

Without the resurrection, the presence of Jesus’ mother at the cross would be painful in the extreme, without a hint of meaning or hope.

Without the resurrection, the cross would be largely forgotten, and it would not appear on millions of buildings or around millions of necks.

Without the resurrection, the tomb would have been the final resting place of Jesus, until his body was exhumed so his bones could be placed in a ossuary (box for bones).

Without the resurrection, there would be no Stations of the Cross.

Without the resurrection, there would be no Christian church.

Without the resurrection, there would be no assurance of salvation.

Without the resurrection, there would be no reason to hope.

Without the resurrection, there would be only death.

From a 2011 Easter Devotional by Presybterian Pastor Mark D. Roberts


Easter Quotes – The Practice of Resurrection (Eugene Peterson)

April 16, 2015

Practice-of-Resurrection

Graphic and quote from: Embrace the God Life

This is a wonderful quote to help us DELIBERATELY continue celebrating Jesus’ resurrection during the 50 days of Eastertide and beyond:

The practice of resurrection is an intentional, deliberate decision to believe and participate in resurrection life, life out of death, life that trumps death, life that is the last word, Jesus life.

-Eugene Peterson, Practice Resurrection

I’ve been reflecting the past 24 hours or so once again on what it means to “Practice Resurrection” – those famous words from Wendell Berry’s Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front which happen to make an excellent slogan for those of us wanting to celebrate the full 50 days of Eastertide.  I find Eugene Peterson’s words above timely and helpful because they specifically point us to Jesus.  “Practice Resurrection” can in some circles be watered down to “Celebrate Spring” “Be Creative” “Try Something New”  etc etc…  I hope those of us exhorting ourselves and others to “Practice Resurrection” this Eastertide will keep Jesus at the center of our celebration.  It’s not just some abstract idea of resurrection we’re celebrating, but Jesus Christ’s physical resurrection from the dead and the difference He makes for our lives and the world.

I hope to have some more thoughts about what that means and looks like in the coming days.  Stay tuned.  And DO keep practicing resurrection – choosing to deliberately unite yourself to Christ, counting yourself dead to sin and alive to God through Jesus (Rom 6:11), today and always…


Easter Quotes: NT Wright – The Message of Easter

April 14, 2015

“The message of Easter, then, is neither that God once did a spectacular miracle but then decided not to do many others nor that there is a blissful life after death to look forward to.  The message of Easter is that God’s new world has been unveiled in Jesus Christ and that you’re now invited to belong to it.” (emphasis added)

— NT Wright (Surprised by Hope, p. 252 – 253)


Easter Quotes: Ann Voskamp – Easter Monday Faith

April 13, 2015

Sun’s rising after Resurrection Sunday on a Monday world where everything’s changed…

Easter Monday faith believes that in impossible darks, impossible light sparks.

Easter Monday faith believes that the tomb places of our life, are but womb places for new life.

Easter Monday faith believes that Christ tenderly takes our doubts — and says touch my scars

This faith believes in stones that roll, in grave clothes that fall, in an Easter people who sing hard hallelujahs … because we believe in resurrections always coming.

— Ann Voskamp, from her 2011 blog entry “What an Easter Faith Looks Like

***

This challenges me.. Do I REALLY believe the resurrection brings impossible light into our dark world?  Am I expecting Christ to change the reality of this world and make everything different, or do I somehow expect everything to continue as is, as if He has not been raised.  Father grant me fresh eyes of faith to see Christ’s resurrection power at work in Your Church and Your people, to know that all of Your promises are Yes and Amen in Christ.

***

 1Cor 15:20-22 (NIV) But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

2 Cor 1:20a (NIV)  For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ…


Easter Quotes: The Fierce Christ of Easter (Timothy George)

April 12, 2015

fierce_Christ

In an excellent short Easter reflection at First Things magazine, Dr. Timothy George writes:

The New Testament, on the other hand, presents death as a violent intrusion, an illicit disruption, a trespasser, a foe or enemy to be overcome. Indeed, Paul refers to death as “the last enemy” to be destroyed by Christ, who will stomp it under his feet on the day of resurrection (1 Cor. 15:25-26). In the meantime, God does not sit idly by, observing with cool detachment the sufferings of his people and the ragings of Satan. That kind of God is the God of deism, the God Thomas Hardy once referred to as “a dreaming, dark, dumb Thing that turns the handle of this idle show.” This view of the divine is at the root of much contemporary atheism. But the God of the Gospel of John is the one who challenges evil at its strongest point, who becomes indignant and angry in the face of death and evil. What we have in John 11 is not so much sinners in the hands of an angry God (though there is much about judgment in John), but rather sin itself, in its most intrusive, death-dealing effect, confronted by an angry Christ.

The fierce Christ of Easter faith is not like the Jesus depicted on the front of many church bulletins: the freshly-laundered Jesus all buffed and tanned, stepping out of the tomb like an athlete fresh from the gym, or like a CEO all buttoned up for a board meeting. No, he is more like Aslan, the great untamed Lion in C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia.

It’s a good reminder…

(art credit)


Easter Quotes: Ann Voskamp – “The second Adam recreating all the universe”

April 11, 2015

From Ann Voskamp’s 2011 Easter blog entry  “…and out of the black”

The cornerstone of Christianity

is this rotting cell sparking,

a heart valve quivering in the pitch,

a beetle scratching in the black while

convex chest cavity shudders,

sunken death inflating with His hot breath,

atoms of the second Adam recreating

all the universe.

::

::


Can you feel it, within, in your darkest places?

He is alive! And in us!


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