Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Something to get excited about...

An excert from "Kings Cross", a book by Timothy Keller....

What if you believe the resurrection is true? You believe that Jesus had died to save you- to direct your eternal trajectory irrevocably toward God. You believe that God has accepted you, for Jesus' sake, through an act of supreme grace. You are a part of the kingdom of God. What then? Does the resurrection mean anything for your life now? Oh my, yes.
Isaiah, Amos and many of the prophets wrote about what God wants to bring about in the future- the kingdom of God, the new heavens and new earth; a healed creation....
..... 'The blind recieve sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor" (Matthew 11:5). That is the kingdom of God-shalom- complete healing of all the relationships in the creation. We will be reconciled to God, to nature, to one another and to ourselves.

And to the extent that that future is real to you, it will change everything about how you live in the present. For example, why is it so hard to face suffering? Why is it so hard to face disability and disease? Why is it so hard to do the right thing if you know its going to cost you money, reputation. maybe even your life? Why is it so hard to face your own death or the death of loved ones?Its so hard because we think this broken world is the only world we are ever going to have. Its easy to feel as if this money is the only wealth we will ever have, as if this body is the only body we'll ever have. But if Jesus is risen, then your future is so much more beautiful, and so much more certain, than that.

Every easter I think about Joni Eareckson Tada. She was in an accident when she was 17, and ever since she has been a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down. While she was still trying to come to terms with this horrible accident, she would go to church in her wheelchair.
The problem with being in a wheelchair, she found, was that at a certain point in her church's liturgy every Sunday, the priest called everyone to kneel- which drive home to her the fact that she was stuck in a wheelchair. Once she was at a convention in which the speaker urged people to get down on their knees and pray. Everyone did except Joni. "With everyone kneeling, I certainly stood out. And I couldnt stop the tears". But it wasn't because of self-pity. She was crying because the sight of hundreds of people on their knees before God was so beautiful- "a picture of heaven". And then she continued weeping at another thought:
Sitting there, I was reminded that in heaven I will be free to jump up, dance, kick and do aerobics. And.... sometime before the guests are called to banquet at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, the first thing I plan to do on resurrected legs is to drop on grateful, glorified knees. I will quietly kneel at the feet of Jesus.
Then, she adds:
I, with shriveled, bent fingers, atrophied muscles, gnarled knees, and no feeling from the shoulders down, will one day have a new body- light, bright and clothed in righteousness- powerful and dazzling. Can you imagine the hope the ressurection gives someone who is spinal-cord injured like me?"
Only in the gospel of Jesus Christ do people find such enormous hope to live. Only resurrection promises us not just new minds and hearts, but also new bodies. They are going to be more indissoluble, more perfect, more beautiful. They will be able to be and do and bear the burden of what bodies are supposed to do in a way in which our present bodies cannot.

If you can't dance, and you long to dance, in the resurrection you'll dance perfectly. If you are lonely, in the resurrection you will have perfect love. If you're empty, in the resurrection you will be perfectly satisfied. Ordinary life is what's going to be redeemed. There is nothing better than ordinary life, except that its always going away and always falling apart. Ordinary life is food and work and chairs by the fire and hugs and dancing and mountains- this world. God loves it so much He gave His only Son so we- and the rest of this ordinary world could be redeemed and made perfect. And that's what is in store for us.

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