Showing posts from April, 2013

A God for all Seasons

Before Resurrection Sunday I was generously invited to attend a very nice Seder meal administered by Congregation Beth Messiah, here in Houston.

Reading over the Pascha material, I was struck by one of the early prayers that we all prayed. The second prayer for the Lighting of the Candles reads:

Baruch atah Adonai Eloheynu Melech ha'olam shehecheyanu v'keeyehmanu v'heegiyanu lazman hazeh.

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has given us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season.

I know that this prayer is specifically about the liturgical season of Pascha. Yet, theologically, I have no problem using that as a thanksgiving prayer for my own life.

It was the last bit that struck me. In the last several years I have come to utter certainty that in all areas of our lives, we go through growth seasons. We have seasons in our work life, growing and moving from job to job. We have seasons in our romantic life, growing and learning in love. We h…

The Resurrection: So What? Part II

After years and years of hearing sermons and reflections on Resurrection Sunday, I thought it would be helpful to reflect on the resurrection of Jesus according to what the NT says on the issue.
In Part I we briefly covered historical precedents for the concept of resurrection. In Part II let’s look at the way early Christians reflected upon the resurrection. That is, we’re exploring the ways the NT documents offer theological reflection concerning the resurrection of Jesus. To do this, I looked up every reference to the resurrection of Jesus in the NT.

Now, I’m not suggesting, for modern application, that we today can only reflect on the resurrection within the limits of NT precedent (one thinks of Rowan Williams' work, Resurrection: Interpreting the Easter Gospel, which uses NT exegesis quite sparsely). However, I am convinced that our reflection concerning the resurrection must be grounded in how the earliest Christians reflected upon it. Our reflection should be within certai…

The Resurrection: So what? Part I

I’d like to spend some time exploring the significance of the resurrection in the New Testament. When I began exploring this idea, I was surprised. It is shocking how little the New Testament spends on the subject. I would have expected much more emphasis upon the consequences of the resurrection of Jesus among the primitive Christians. The seminal work by NT Wright (The Resurrection of the Son of God) is certainly the place to where everyone must go to learn of resurrection in ancient Greek and Jewish thought. My understanding has been greatly enhanced by his work on this issue.
First, let’s be clear what “resurrection” means when used of Jesus: it means theact of God by which dead persons receive new, physical, incorruptible, Spirit-animated bodies. This is the only way the term is used among the Jews who believed in it (Greeks and Romans had no such belief). Therefore, resurrectionnevermeans “to live in glory” or “to go to Heaven." And it's also important to note that while…