October 21, 2020

Easter Sunday 2015: “God’s future has arrived in the present” (N.T. Wright)


If Easter makes any sense at all, it makes sense within something much more like the classic Jewish worldview…: heaven and earth are neither the same thing, nor a long way removed from one another, but they overlap and interlock mysteriously in a number of ways; and the God who made both heaven and earth is at work from within the world as well as from without, sharing the pain of the world — indeed, taking its full weight upon his own shoulders. From that point of view, as the Eastern Orthodox churches have always emphasized, when Jesus rose again God’s whole new creation emerged from the tomb, introducing a world of new potential and possibility. Indeed, precisely because part of that new possibility is for human beings themselves to be revived and renewed, the resurrection of Jesus doesn’t leave us as passive, helpless spectators. We find ourselves lifted up, set on our feet, given new breath in our lungs, and commissioned to go and make new creation happen in the world.

This is, indeed, the interpretation of the resurrection which fits most closely the view of Jesus’ life and work which I have presented. If it is the case that Israel’s vocation was to be the people through whom the one God would rescue his beloved creation; if it is the case that Jesus believed himself, as God’s Messiah, to be bearing Israel’s vocation in himself; and in some sense exhausted, the full weight of the worlds’ evil — then clearly there is indeed a task waiting to be done. The music he wrote must now be performed. The early disciples saw this, and got on with it. When Jesus emerged from the tomb, justice, spirituality, relationship, and beauty rose with him. Something has happened in and through Jesus as a result of which the world is a different place, a place where heaven and earth have been joined forever. God’s future has arrived in the present. Instead of mere echoes, we hear the voice itself: a voice which speaks of rescue from evil and death, and hence of new creation.

• N.T. Wright
from Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense


  1. Awesome!

  2. Robert F says

    in a garden
    by a grove of palm
    in the cool morning
    I was reborn

    called out
    from my shallow grave
    by a voice I’d thought
    never to hear again

    Mary, he said,
    & my world,
    my body & spirit,
    leaped back into existence

    back from a well
    of grief & fear,
    back from the black,
    burning star of anger

    do not hold me, he said,
    & I held back
    my hand
    but not my heart

    as Eve was taken
    from the side of Adam
    so now his life
    had become my own

    & his love burned in me
    like a thousand suns
    & stronger than
    death itself

    & the world was reborn
    in that garden
    & the garden shone with light
    & the light filled everything

  3. Robert F says

    Alleluia! He is risen!

  4. jazziscoolithink says

    My cousin killed himself this week. In our Good Friday service, I had him on my mind. I imagined Christ dying with him, sharing in his suffering. We had a service for him yesterday, and there was no mention of resurrection. It was, for me, a glaring omission. But I haven’t been able to sleep tonight, and the idea of resurrection seems like a cruel joke. And this Wright quote feels especially hollow right now. The world is a different place? Really? I truly wish I could believe that, but it just sounds like so much bullshit. What has changed? Seriously, how has the world in anyway gotten better? It seems to me that we are all as broken as we’ve ever been, and that we just tell ourselves things will get better in some distant future that never actually gets any nearer. God’s future has arrived in the present? Really? It’s been millennia, and THIS is God’s present future? I guess I just hoped for a better God. A God who knows that this present future sucks as bad as the past ever did.

    I hope I’m wrong…

    • Danielle Ferrin says

      Im so sorry for your tragic loss. suicide is always so hard because to is left here, it seems so avoidable. I believe there is a huge battle going on for our hearts & minds, lives & souls. If God was for death, disease, depression, madness, hurt, then I don’t understand why Jesus would have spent His life & power healing & releasing these things & promising that Heaven is free of these pains. This earth can glimpse the power that we have (as this article states in the middle) veiled and yet under oppression. We are still sinners. There is still a battle being wages for us (john 10:10a). We never have the perfect minds yet. But… And there’s the “but”… This earth is quick & beyond, time is much longer. May you slowly find peace through your pain & my heart is with you. There’s a woman, who lost her son when he was a child, who speaks on the http://www.whchurch.org website under Sermons -search Triumph by Testimony I think.. That is beautifully fitting. It all comes down to our picture of God. The book, “Is God to Blame” by Greg Boyd helps me a lot with this (if you’re not a reader much, just google & read the Internet premise)… And here’s a quick snip with Easter tie in… http://m.christianpost.com/news/easter-brings-hope-136590/ He sees you & knows you & loved your cousin more than they ever knew. Thanks for your honest transparency. God can handle all of that. Love today, Danielle

    • I’m sorry, jazziscool.

    • I’m glad you’re able to talk about your feelings. And I’m sorry for your loss.

    • I am so very sorry, jazz. No words can touch that kind of pain.

    • I didn’t go to church today. Lost a sister to cancer last year. Getting close to that anniversary. Those platitudes CM expressed in so many ways that seem to repeat themselves a thousand times over thousands of years. I have heaviness in my heart and it has been there ever since I can remember. My first remembrance is watching Brian’s song and how I cried. Oh I howled. Even Puff the magic dragon made me cry as my heart broke for the dragon.

      People look at me from my church and think something is wrong with me. They think their idea of what happiness is should be mine. I hear people get up take the pulpit and tell us so with an amen church. Sometimes I want to scream. I had lost hope ten years ago. Picked up a bottle of whiskey and chugged half of it. This is normal for me because I just feel that. I can put away a lot and triple shots is always what I ordered. My sister prayed for me. She knew some of my struggle. After two years I was about done. Out of money and out of time trying to find a way to die. I had nothing left. I was at my bottom.

      Somehow He found me there again because this wasn’t the first time. The last was almost twenty years before and the one before that was at fifteen when I first heard His voice. Seems I had to find the different soils in my life. It took a 90-90 and a year of really hard struggles again but he answered me. My sister said she was praying the day I was hanging on a rope in my garage and said she told Him if He didn’t do something we would lose him. That day was today eight years ago. Oh and by the way I picked the bottle back up on Easter Sunday two years prior after seventy plus days of work without a day off. I just hurt all the time.

      My prayers didn’t save my sister from cancer. It’s okay. The only real hope and love I have ever found is in this Christ. My heart can be sad and I still love. It can be happy and I still love. I can feel nothing at all and I still love. Because it was given to me by HIM and it’s mine and no one can take it from me. No one no matter what. I could have worked this weekend. I have had too much work lately. It scared me. I haven’t wanted to drink in a long time but boy do I want to get drunk. So I told them all to leave me alone I’m not working. I’m going to walk to the top of my prayer mountain and cry a little and tell Him I love him and I need His help to try and love a little better like He does.

      Since I have been at that bottom I live in the most beautiful house and drive vehicles I never thought I’d own. Get work even when there is none for many. I am grateful but mostly what I am grateful for is Him. This is where I keep looking everyday. The other stuff sort of just came along. I really don’t know how it all has happened. Some would have you believe it is not about me, me,me. In my opinion they are only partly right and half truths do nothing for me. Christ died for us including you and I. I think a me is in there.

      He lays little things upon my heart. I have prayed for so many. Not many in the last year though. I have picked up tabs for young men arguing over who had what as their pockets were empty. I never pass a person in need. I left a 50 dollar tip at breakfast for a older lady on her fiftieth anniversary. She was running all around talking about it like she was all young again and I saw her that way. Heard a little voice say do it. Wish I could testify to all those things that happened in the last 8 years. I don’t need to. I did it for Him.

      First thing on my mind this morning was a friend named Tom who killed himself. I had another named Tom who killed himself. I have to kind of fight through these things. I don’t know why. There is so much I don’t know.
      Maybe our communion will be me on top a mountain and you wherever you are. May God’s love fall on you this day…Peace

    • OldProphet says

      I had a close family member die this week. I’m having a hard time with it. I hear your pain Jazz. May God grant you comfort. I need to hear from God today.

      • Robert F says

        I’m sorry for your loss, OP; I pray that you will hear God as you need, and I pray that light perpetual may shine upon your family member who died this week.

    • The world can really suck, that’s for sure. And though the scoreboard when our lives end looks really ugly, I’m glad that He’s victorious, and brings us into that victory.

      I don’t mean this as trite Christian blah blah blah. Just trying to offer some hopeful words. Thanks for sharing your pain and anger and confusion and questions.

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss. There are no words for experiences like this.

    I walk among the dying every day and have similar questions. Even the saints in heaven cry out “How long?” (Rev. 6:10). Whatever Easter means, it has little to do with the triumphalistic platitudes that many of us will hear in church today.

  6. Praying for you jazz. Truly a horrible thing to live with this kind of loss. If it weren’t for His resurrection I couldn’t go on.

  7. So sorry, jazz. I’m looking down out my window at what yesterday was starting to show green as the bright sun and warm wind dwindled the remnants of the winter drifts. This morning it is all covered in white again, a robin hopping along ankle deep, unable to join the sparrows and cardinals where I swept a space and threw down seed. From up here it looks like a cruel joke for Easter morning. May that robin find something it can eat, and may you find a measure of comfort and peace.

  8. Amen.

    And my sympathies and prayers for everyone who lost someone this week.

  9. Jazziscoolithink says

    Thanks to everyone for your comforting words. Today has been difficult for me and my family, to be sure. But all of you allowing me to express my hurt and anger has helped me greatly. I see God in this. Thank you.

    • This is what iMonk is all about, or should be, anyway: a safe place for Christians to vent and share doubts.

    • Robert F says

      What good are words? Loss is loss, pain is pain, there are just too many things that don’t make sense. May light perpetual shine upon your cousin, Jazz, and may he know peace.

  10. Robert F says

    “We have seen a fire of sticks
    burn out. The fire now
    Burns in some other place. Where?
    Who knows? These brands
    Are burned out.”

    Excerpt from “Lao Tzu’s Wake,” page 57 of The Way of Chuang Tzu by Thomas Merton.

  11. Dana Ames says

    jazz and w, I am sorry for your losses – pretty jarring anytime, and especially this week. May God help you both and grant rest to your loved ones.

    If death is not the final thing any longer, then humans have the potential to be what God created us to be. That’s a huge change. For examples, I look to the saints, who are basically no different than I and at the same time call me to live into my true humanity. (if this sounds like bilge to you today, okay by me to ignore it…)


  12. I’m coming to the end of participating in a two-year quarterly spiritual retreat run by the UMC’s Upper Room, called “The Academy for Spiritual Formation.”

    Last year at about this time we had a speaker who, reflecting on Christ’s Passion and Easter, talked about how when we are in the grave (either low points in our life or the real grave), Christ is in there with us. We are not alone when we are at our lowest points, or when we die—he is with us. And this is possible because he experienced these things himself, yet emerged through God’s power in the end.

    I have found much comfort and strength in this concept—Christ in the grave with me as a companion, and Christ knowing what is on the other side.

    I too had a cousin who committed suicide during holy week, about 20 years ago now. He went to a Catholic retreat center down the road from his home and shot himself under a statue of Jesus. Jesus was with him and his pain as well.

    Jazz I hope some of this may be of help to you in the coming days.

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