Saturday, July 9, 2011

Proclaiming and living out the resurrection of the crucified Christ (Michael Pahl)

I just finished reading Michael W Pahl's little book called From Resurrection to New Creation (Eugene: Cascade Books, 2010). In the following I will cite three quotes in the last chapter that are very helpful (on page 94).

The first two quotes probably require reading the book itself before one can fully grasp their significance, although they shouldn't be too hard to understand. The last quote shows how in practice the church can carry out its task of proclaiming and embodying Christ in this age.

In many ways this has been what I have been trying to say in the past five years at theological colleges and churches.

"Proclaiming and living out the death and resurrection of Jesus in faith, hope, and love, as described above, the church is called to enact God's program of creation renewal in this age in anticipation of the fulfillment of the renewal of creation in the age to come."

"Another way to look at this task of creation renewal is to see it as simply fulfilling the purpose of humanity in the image of God, ensuring and extending God's loving and faithful rule throughout the earthly creation."

"Yet another way to see this creation renewal task is to understand it as applying the resurrection reversal of the crucified Jesus to the world around us. In Jesus' resurrection, condemnation, shame, oppression, and death have been transformed into vindication, glory, freedom, and life. Thus, by the Spirit of Jesus the church is called to bring restorative care to the earth, liberating justice to the oppressed, food to the hungry, comfort to the suffering, healing to the sick, forgiveness and honor to the guilty and shamed, love to those in need, faith to those who doubt, hope to those in despair - light and life to a dark and dying world. This resurrection reversal is both our salvation and blessing and our missionary task."

The way I myself would like to frame this is through the stories in the Bible, the stories of the people of God, as well as the stories of the poor and oppressed. Through the biblical narratives we discover the story of the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ, as well as the stories of God's people (those of Israel and the Christ-community). As we enter the biblical stories we learn to appropriate those stories in our own lives and in the world. That's how we may proclaim and embody the gospel in a world out-of-joint.

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