I was in a discussion this week when a woman said, “It is very hard to understand the resurrection. People have a hard time understanding death, let alone someone being raised from the dead.” And she is right. The resurrection is very difficult to understand.
We can understand the crucifixion of Jesus, but with Mary Magdalene, Peter and John, we have difficulty understanding the empty tomb and the appearances of Jesus. We want to ask about his body. What form did the risen Jesus take? Did he look the same? What are we to do with the resurrection, how are we to pray about it?
Paul’s letter to the Colossians, it seems to me, helps us understand that we are not only to believe in the resurrection, but we are to “practice the resurrection” (as Wendell Barry says in his poem).
Real faith in Jesus prompts us to believe that we have all been raised up in the company of Jesus Christ. (I Cor 15: 220) “For in Adam all die, so too in Christ shall all be brought to life.” We are in solidarity with the risen Christ. And this life is to begin now; we are to practice the resurrected life now.
We are to put on the new self, which is being renewed in the image of its creator. We are to practice compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. We are to forgive, to put on love, to have peace in our hearts, to be thankful, to sing with gratitude in our hearts. (Col 3:12-17).
This is what the resurrection means for us. Like every other thing we practice, it takes practicing now, and now, and now, and forever now.