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Center for Action and Contemplation
A Resurrection Faith
A Resurrection Faith

Resurrection and Incarnation

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Father Richard writes of resurrection as an inherent aspect of incarnation:  

We all want resurrection in some form. Jesus’ resurrection is a potent, focused, and compelling statement about what God is still and forever doing with the universe and with humanity. Science strongly confirms this statement using its own terms: metamorphosis, condensation, evaporation, seasonal changes, and the life cycles of everything from butterflies to stars. The natural world is constantly dying and being reborn in different forms. God appears to be resurrecting everything all the time and everywhere. It is not something to “believe in” as much as it is something to observe and be taught by.  

I choose to believe in Jesus’ bodily resurrection because it localizes the whole Mystery in this material and earthly world and in our own bodies too—the only world we know and the world that God created and loves and in which God chose to incarnate. (Read all of 1 Corinthians 15 where Paul keeps saying this in many ways.) [1] 

Theologian Elizabeth Johnson considers the embodied nature of Jesus’ resurrection:  

Given the dualism [regarding body and spirit] that remains in Christian thinking, it is important to emphasize that [the resurrection] is not simply a case of the immortality of the soul. Jesus does not shuck off his bodiliness like a suit of clothes and rise heavenward, so to speak, as a purely spiritual being. Resurrection affirms new life of the whole enfleshed person Jesus, transfigured beyond death. In a deeply material way, the Easter appearances disclose the divine depth-dimension undergirding all flesh, which opens novel possibilities for the body itself….  

The resurrection starts on earth with Jesus dead and buried, and ends up in God with Jesus the Living One transformed by the power of the Spirit. Alive in God, his presence is no longer bound by earth’s limits but partakes of the omnipresence of God’s own love. Christ is now present in word and sacrament and wherever two or three gather in his name. True to the pattern of his ministry, he also approaches, mysteriously revealed and concealed, in the hungry, the thirsty, the sick, the homeless, those in prison, the very least of those in need. Ultimately, through the power of the Spirit, Jesus is with the whole community of disciples, indeed with the whole community of creation, through every hour, until the end of time. Is this true? All explanations aside, it has to be a lived truth, seen in the lives of those who are participants in Christ’s ongoing work in the world. [2] 

Richard concludes: 

If the original divine incarnation was and is true, then resurrection is both inevitable and irreversible. If the Big Bang was the external starting point of the eternal Christ Mystery, then we know this eternal logos is leading creation somewhere good, and the universe is not chaotic or meaningless. Alpha and Omega are in fact one and the same. [3] 

[1] Adapted from Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2013), 86–87. 

[2] Elizabeth A. Johnson, Creation and the Cross: The Mercy of God for a Planet in Peril (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2018), 102–103. 

[3] Rohr, Immortal Diamond, 88. 

Image credit: Jenna Keiper, Untitled (detail), Washington, 2020, photograph, used with permission. Click here to enlarge image. The first rays of sun caressing our faces remind us of the importance of new beginnings, of waiting, of awe. 

Story from Our Community:  

Recently, I’ve felt the Daily Meditations speaking directly to me and my situation. I retired earlier this month from the job I had for twenty years. This retirement, while welcomed, was unexpected and unplanned. I am now like Jonah in the whale’s belly, uncertain where I will land. I have to set aside my knowledge and adopt “a beginner’s mind.” Understanding this as a normal and necessary process gives me confidence in God’s resurrection in my life. —Phil K. 

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