“To participate in resurrection, one first must be dead.” – Wendell Berry, “The Rejected Husband” in Given: Poems
The other night I read that section in Romans where Paul takes on resurrection and lets his readers know up front that if they are to be part of Christ’s resurrection, they have to share in his death too. And although in terms of eschatology this does take a literal form, the metaphors Paul employed were given to highlight the seriousness of what it means to follow Christ wherever he goes. Jesus himself puts Peter on the spot when he confronts him on the limitations of his discipleship, and at once Peter recognizes that there are many places where he is hesitant to follow Christ. And it is into these places that Christ calls me to question, and I must explore them truthfully if I am to “count the cost” of my own discipleship. Where are the places in my life that Christ is calling me to die to? There are so many places in my life that Christ has not been resurrected into, and what I believe God is leading me to do is learn how to die in these places. To realize that it is not by my own power, but by the power of the resurrected Christ that I truly find real life.
And as beautiful as that language can sound at times, what that really means in the grit of my own life is that things must changes, in fact all things must change. Not just how I relate to God and to others in the broad spectrum of life, but in how I manage my time, how I spend my money, what I entertain myself with, what I read, etc. It is all discipleship, and every moment can be a moment to experience grace. The realization is that I must listen, must be attentive, must be awake to it. It is about presence. Am I present in my interactions with others; at the bookstore? at work? at home?
And what Easter does for me is confirm the fact that Christ longs to be present in my life, that in the beginning the Word created the world, and at one point entered into it and in turn changed the course of history, with the result that we might experience the richness of him and his glory all the more. It is out of this that I am called to be more present in the lives of others and in my own life.