In just under 3 weeks the global Church will celebrate what our earliest ancestors pointed to as the lynchpin of world history.
Hint: It’s not Jesus’ death on the cross…
It’s Jesus’ resurrection from the grave!!
Now, before we launch headlong into theological debate, let’s be clear… there is no sense in dichotomizing the birth, life, ministry, teaching, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus – these are all interrelated parts of all God was and is for us in the person of Jesus. The point isn’t to lift one aspect up over-against the others – and it’s certainly not to diminish the radical significance of Jesus’ death. Rather, it’s acknowledging that there is something profound… something climactic about Jesus’ resurrection. There is something in the reality of the resurrection that seems to imbue everything else Jesus was, said, and did, with its ultimate meaning and significance.
Indeed, in affirming with the Apostle Paul, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17), we are acknowledging that there is an important sense in which the resurrection completes Jesus’ earthly ministry. As N.T. Wright has said, “the resurrection completes the inauguration of God’s kingdom. . . . It is the decisive event demonstrating that God’s kingdom really has been launched on earth as it is in heaven.”
The resurrection signals God’s defeat, not just of sin, but of death itself as the ultimate end of sin. More, the resurrection signals the dawning of a whole new era of God’s work of reconciliation and re-creation – an era that will extend into eternity in and through Jesus’ ultimate return.
In short, it is the resurrection that changes everything. Or better, in the resurrection, everything has changed!
Yet my sense is that this reality – something that played such a vital a role in the shaping of the discipleship, mission, and teaching of the early Church – has been eclipsed… that we’ve lost sight of the true significance of the resurrection in shaping our imagination for life and witness in our day.
This is the basic premise behind our 2nd North American gathering, Being Truly Human: Re-Imagining the Resurrectional Life. Specifically, we’re interested in asking the question…
How might a renewed appreciation for Jesus’ resurrection as the lynchpin of human history reshape our engagement with crucial issues about human identity and the embodied witness of the Church in our culture today?
That question opens up a wide array of related questions related to what it means to be #TrulyHuman.
Questions around race and reconciliation…
Questions around gender and sexuality…
Questions around human identity & the created order…
Questions around discipleship, leadership, and church practice…
And so many others!
In all of our plenaries, conversation forums, and workshops, our aim is to create space for a fresh consideration of the the significance of the resurrection for shaping our thought and our practice as followers of Jesus. Over 60 incredible leaders are going to be on hand to help shape these conversations and to interact with one another as well as those in attendance.
This gathering promises to be a historic and formative time – something we believe will have long-range impact across a great many tribes and traditions of North American Christianity. We hope you’ll consider joining us this May in Alexandria, VA!
But beyond this, we want to hear from you.
- Do you share in this sense that the centrality of the resurrection has been eclipsed in our thought and practice?
- As a follower of Jesus, a pastor, or Christian leader, what role does – or ought – the resurrection play in our engagement in issues of human identity and the embodied witness of the church?
- As you look over the various sessions that are being planned for this May, which ones are of most interest to you and why?
Please, let us hear from you in the comments!