Wright on the Resurrection  

Posted by Joe Rawls in

NT Wright, Anglican bishop of Durham (England, not North Carolina), is probably the go-to guy in the Anglican communion when it comes to issues relating to both the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection of everyone else at the end of time. He is the author of The Resurrection of the Son of God, a massive and magisterial tome published by Fortess Press (Minneapolis 2003). The same material is treated more briefly and more accessibly in Surprised by Hope (HarperOne 2008). A leading New Testament scholar, Wright presents a robust defense of the doctrine of the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead, a defense fully cognizant of alternative explanations from both secular scholarship and more liberal expressions of Christian theology.

The following excerpt is from a sermon preached at Durham Cathedral this past Easter Sunday.

The resurrection of Jesus, the great fact at the heart of the Easter faith, means that we now know, suddenly and in a blinding flash, what our ultimate future will be. Our ultimate future isn't just that we bumble along trying to live the present life a little bit better until one day we decay and die and end up either in the grave or in a disembodied heaven or perhaps both. Our ultimate future is that we will be raised to new life in God's new world, not only to inhabit God's new creation, a world full of beauty and life and justice and freedom, but actually to run it on God's behalf. That's a solid New Testament truth which the church usually keeps quiet about, but it's time to get it out of the cupboard, blow the dust off it, and see what it means for today. Running God's world won't mean, of course, arrogantly imposing our own will on it; it will mean being God's stewards, and ruling with gentle, wise love. To be Easter people, we are called to anticipate, here and now, that future vocation, to look after God's world on his behalf, and to gather up the praises of creation and present them before the creator. Stewardship and worship, the practice of being kings and priests, are the habits of heart and life that Easter people must acquire.

Stewardship and worship take a thousand different forms. Stewardship means working for God's justice in the world, for the health and flourishing of the planet and all who live on it, for God's wise order and exuberant freedom to come to birth in all directions. Pray, in the days to come, about the ways in which God wants you to be a steward in his creation. That's what you're going to be doing in the resurrection life; start practicing now. Worship means celebrating God's powerful deeds in history, in your own history, in your community; it means summing up the praises of the whole creation and expressing them articulately and with understanding and delight, in the presence of the God who made you, loves you, and has redeemed you. Pray, in the days to come, about the ways in which God wants you to worship him, where that should be, how often you should come to the Eucharist, and how to worship in private as well. Worship is what you're going to be doing in the resurrection life; start practicing now.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at Tuesday, April 14, 2009 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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