Denying The Resurrection

There’s a video online of Peter Rollins answering the question “Do I deny the Resurrection?”

This is his response—

Without equivocation or hesitation, I fully and completely admit that I deny the resurrection of Christ. This is something that anyone who knows me could tell you, and I am not afraid to say it publicly, no matter what some people may think…

I deny the resurrection of Christ every time I do not serve at the feet of the oppressed, each day that I turn my back on the poor; I deny the resurrection of Christ when I close my ears to the cries of the downtrodden and lend my support to an unjust and corrupt system.

However, there are moments when I affirm that resurrection, few and far between as they are. I affirm it when I stand up for those who are forced to live on their knees, when I speak for those who have had their tongues torn out, when I cry for those who have no more tears left to shed.

(see the video here– http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiG-nlDVvYM)

What Peter Rollins is saying is that we deny Christ each and every time we look the other way when our brothers and sisters are hurting, each time we cross the street to get away from a downtrodden, beleaguered fellow man, each time we put ourselves over and above someone else.  Each time we don’t spare a quarter for a homeless person, don’t wish someone a good day, ignore a lonely person’s plea for conversation, and lack forgiveness for a mistake made by a friend. In these and many other ways, we reject Jesus and embrace hell as a reality. It doesn’t take much to affirm perdition, not much at all.

We can affirm Jesus as Lord with our mouth and at the very same time deny and reject him with our actions.

We affirm Christ when we love without reason. When we stand up for others, hug a hurting friend, drop a coin in a donation jar, smile at a stranger, and encourage a hurting person we proclaim the Kingdom of God not with words that won’t be remembered but actions that will linger.  We declare God is good when we love the stranger, include the excluded, provide shelter and comfort of the widow and orphan.

The bible directs us to love God and neighbor, to work for the good of all and to choose life over death.

At my church, once every year we cancel Sunday services and goes out and be the church. We call it faith in action. This year a group went to a city park and handed out sandwiches. Another group went door to door to the houses near the church collecting food for a local food bank and another group did some repair work on a school and the playground. This is our small way of saying with our hands and feet that the resurrection was and is a real event in history and we want Jesus to live in our hearts.

You don’t have go to church or call yourself a Christian to affirm the resurrection and proclaim the Kingdom of God.

Rob Bell in Jesus Wants To Save Christians is speaking about the Exodus and the Ten Commandments and writes, “the third commandment, the prohibition not to ‘misuse the name of the Lord your God.’ The Hebrew word for ‘misuse’ here can also be translated ‘carry.’ God has redeemed these former slaves and is now inviting them and the God who made it happen. They are how the world will know who God is. God’s reputation is going to depend on them and how they ‘carry’ God’s name.  The command is certainly about the words a person speaks, But at its heart it is far more about how Israel carries herself as those who carry the name of God. Will she act on behalf of the poor and oppressed? Because that is how this God acts.”  

A little later Bell imagines God telling the Hebrews how they are to act in light of their liberation from slavery. “It’s as if God is saying, ‘The thing that has happened to you—go make it happen for others. The freedom from oppression that you are now experiencing—help others experience that same freedom. The grace that has been extended to you when you were at your lowest—extend it to others. In the same way I heard your cry, go and hear the cry of others and act on their behalf.”

Just as the Hebrew’s were to pay it forward, so are we Christians to extend the same love and grace we have found in Jesus to those we encounter on a daily basis.  People should see us and want to be Christians because of the joy, compassion, and trustworthiness they see in us. We need to love those that the world finds unacceptable—to extend the good news to those who only know sorrow, hostility, and exclusion.  We should stand up for love and grace and tell the world we will not let a single person to go hungry, unloved, unprotected, or friendless. We should not create division, but build bridges that unite and encourage others to be all that they are meant to be.

This is what it means to declare Jesus the Christ, Lord and savior of all.

This is what it means to proclaim that the tomb is empty.

This is what it means to affirm the resurrection.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:19-21

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