Tuesday, November 25, 2008


The resurrection of Jesus was a hidden event. Jesus didn't rise from the grave to baffle his opponents, to make a victory statement, or to prove to those who crucified him that he was right after all. Jesus rose as a sign to those who had loved him and followed him that God's divine love is stronger than death. To the women and men who had committed themselves to him, he revealed that his mission had been fulfilled. To those who shared in his ministry, he gave the sacred task to call all people into the new life with him.

The world didn't take notice. Only those whom he called by name, with whom he broke bread, and to whom he spoke words of peace were aware of what happened. Still, it was this hidden event that freed humanity from the shackles of death.

Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey

Sometimes it's we Christians who are baffled. Baffled that the world goes on as always, broken and compromised; that it didn't listen, didn't change forever, at the resurrection. We are hurt and confused that our prayers, and the prayers of all those who went before us, haven't already produced a glorious vindication of Christ, and the confounding of all those who spoke against him, who have spoken against us.

But we are in the Kingdom, and the Kingdom is among us, invisible from outside, and yet gloriously alive within the communion of those who have been saved by that resurrection(Luke 17.20-21), lifted up with Jesus from the darkness of the grave (Romans 8.11).

I love this hiddenness, actually. I know it somehow fits with the way I am, so you might say I was bound to like it, and yet there is more to it than that. No-one can enter the Kingdom by being impressed, by taking the side of the playground bully, as might be the case if the Kingdom were to come in power as we wish it would, like the Jews hoping to see the Romans' backsides well and truly kicked. We only enter the Kingdom, which is "a Kingdom of truth and life, a Kingdom of holiness and grace, a Kingdom of justice, love, and peace" (Preface for the Feast of Christ the King) through love, through loving the Christ who was raised in glory, yes, but in hiddenness and gentleness, whose first contact with humanity was with a frightened girl in the early morning mist, in a quiet garden, calling her name softly into her panic and her tears (John 20.14-18). That is the King of this strange Kingdom, that is the nature of the event whose power changed everything, forever. That is what the gate looks like (John 10.9) that leads into the Kingdom. That is the Christ I love.

1 comment:

Sue said...

Beautiful, Mike :)