We in the church are now in the middle of the 50 days of the Easter season. And so I find my thoughts turning to resurrection. At the same time I am listening to the level of anxiety and worry around town and it really seems like we in TOwn-on-the-Small-River could use a little resurrection these days.
But at the same time I am not totally convinced that resurrection is what people are looking for. What people are looking for is the sale and restart of Particle-Board MAker, the restart of Lumber-Mill, a return to what was. That is not resurrection. That is resuscitation. When we think of giant defibrillator paddles being placed on the economy and shocking it back to life we are talking about resuscitation, not resurrection. Resurrection is something different.
One of the biggest challenges about resurrection is that it means transformation. The Easter stories in the Gospel make it clear that people had trouble recognizing the Risen Christ. In a very real way the man they met in the garden or on the road to Emmaus was different from the man they had seen led out to be killed. It was not just life being breathed back into the old body and the stopped heart restarted. Jesus had been transformed; the new life after Easter was not the same as life before the cross.
The same can be said for Jesus’ followers. Before they experienced resurrection they were afraid, hiding, certain they would be next for the cross. Afterwards they were filled with strength and courage, able to launch a movement that would reach from a tiny Roman province to the center of the world and beyond. The transformation was complete and world-changing.
What are we looking for here in TOwn-on-the-Small-River? Is our hope only that the different streams of resource extraction will start up again? Are we really looking for a resuscitation of mining and forestry or are we open for resurrection? Opening up to transformation is always risky. Opening up to change means letting go of what once was. But those of us who share Christian faith are people who believe in resurrection. We believe that even when all hope should be gone, there is still hope. We believe that God is doing a new thing in our midst.
What might resurrection’s transformation bring to TOwn-on-the-Small-River? Only a fool would try to make a complete prediction. True transformation is remarkably hard to predict or even to plan. We who believe in resurrection’s transformation are not called to spark or guide its’ happening. Our task is to open our hearts and minds for new possibilities and realities.
We need some resurrection here and now. We need some new life and new hope. But we need to decide if we will settle for a rebirth of the old and familiar or if we are willing to accept transformation. We need to decide if we want resurrection or resuscitation. Resuscitation will keep us going for a while but in the long term hope comes with the dawn of resurrection and transformation. And take heart, God will walk with us on the long road of transformation, leading us with hope and promise.