Monday, May 09, 2011

Strength for Today, Hope for Tomorrow (Easter, Day 16)

Easter is an event about Jesus. But it is also an event about us. This twofold refrain has rung out throughout this series, and is repeatedly attested in the words and deeds of Christians. Easter includes both faith in Jesus and hope for us and our world.

I want to keep reflecting on the connection between Easter faith and Easter hope. I pointed out earlier that Easter faith in Jesus's resurrection points not only to a past event but has present and future dimensions. Jesus not only was raised but is risen and lives eternally. In the same way, Easter hope in our resurrection is not just directed to a future event but also a present reality. Yes, the resurrection will happen to us at the End, just as it happened to Jesus at Easter. But we already live in the presence of the risen, living Jesus. He is with us.

The power by which the risen Jesus is present is the Holy Spirit. As Romans 8:11 puts it, not only will God the Father raise us by the same Spirit by whom he rose Jesus, but already that same Spirit dwells within us now!

So, it is not just a sentimentality to say "Strength for today, bright hope for tomorrow." The two go together in the New Testament. They must properly distinguished, ordered, and unified. And they must be grounded in the Easter event that is prior to, above, and beyond our own personal needs and desires. But, with all that said, Easter hope really does speak to the power of the Spirit in and among us now. That should give us not only hope that endures but hope that strengthens.

Any thoughts?


Elizabeth Glass-Turner said...

great systematic theology: very well parsed.

please describe relationship between Easter faith and hope and the Ascension: it's the Ascension that troubles me.

- Bitty

JohnLDrury said...

Thanks. I will definitely say something about the ascension when we get closer to the end of the forty days.
PS - the delay is not just about timing, but also having less formulated about it ;-)

Anonymous said...

I liked it so much and very interesting, too! Thanks for sharing the experience.
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