Hi everyone. Rob here.
As I look out my office windows I see a lot of healthy, strong, leafy trees. I’m blessed to live in this city where trees, flowers and green spaces thrive. Just a few months ago those same trees were completely bare and the flower gardens were devoid of life. It’s a reminder that the God we serve is a God of resurrection. No matter how dead we may feel or look, God can and does lead us into new life.
I’m holding onto this truth as I head into a time of sabbatical next week. It’s been a testing season of ministry in the last few weeks. In fact, it’s always a testing season in ministry! It’s just that sometimes it’s easier to hold onto the truth of resurrection than other times.
The reality is that you only need resurrection when you’re dead! The other reality is that you can’t make resurrection happen; it can only happen to you. But we can play a part in the dying. For me, God’s been coming after my independent streak for a while now. It’s taken two incidents to wake me up to the fact that it exists. Independence is incompatible with dependent trust. It’s God’s call on all of our lives and I pursue it as a wholehearted disciple of Jesus Christ. This means that when it comes to light that I’ve been too independent in the way I go about my work, I have to choose to embrace that truth and bring it to the cross to be put to death. It may take several return trips before full surrender happens, but every time I go to the cross, I also invite resurrection to come.
The resurrected Christ was unpredictable. He would seem to go through walls, cook breakfast for his buddies, be unrecognisable at times, and then plain as day in the next breath. There’s a profound joy in Jesus as he lives his resurrected life. I can’t define what resurrection will look like in the wake of old ways being put to death, but I know that it means more joy. I certainly want and need more of that.
The Christian pattern of dying and rising with Christ is so that we can reflect Christ more clearly and point to the reality of God’s kingdom as we go about our lives. It’s not about us, and yet, we become truly ourselves in the process. The process itself is anchored by God’s love for his children. Our Father initiates us into his kingdom, into sonship and daughterhood, into a realm of wonder, delight and joy.
Dying hurts. It’s uncomfortable and exposing. It’s also utterly necessary if we are to become people at home in God. We are asked to enter into new life in the here and now, more and more. May we come to the cross and die with Jesus. May we rise from the tomb and experience resurrection. And may the love and joy of God be ours.