We Believe? – Week 6
“We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.” Teaching Segment notes by Jen Kellner. Sunday November 20, 2011
On Sunday we wrapped up our series on the Nicene Creed and shared about “the resurrection of the dead and life of the world to come.” When I teach, my process is to do lots of research and writing, then put it aside at the last minute to be replaced by bullet points that allow for a more spontaneous type of talk. This makes it challenging to share my notes, but here is the best approximation so you can get the gist of the talk from our gathering on Sunday.
The Background: The Nicene Creed came out of a desire to clarify the basic beliefs that Christians hold. There was a scholar by the name of Arius who was teaching some questionable things. In a nut shell, Arianism taught that Jesus was not truly divine and of a different “substance” than God, which challenged the developing doctrine of the Trinity. The emperor Constantine, newly converted to Christianity, called a Church Council at Nicæa in AD 325 to bring some unity to the church amid developing controversies and false teachings. The Council at Nicæa adopted an early form of the creed, although the basic present form emerged from the Council of Constantinople in AD 381.
The Intro: I was very excited to talk on this, because when you first hear the phrase “resurrection of the dead” you can’t help but think of zombies. Well, I can’t anyway. Everywhere I looked there was a recurring theme of Zombies There’s the walking dead TV show that’s becoming popular, Zombie walks – even a blog post by Gungor that talks about musical zombies.
So when you remove the soul from music and transplant the body parts (chord changes, instrumentation, dress, lights, and everything but the soul…) and parade it around with some more “positive” lyrics posing as Christian music, then what you have is a musical zombie. – Gungor
It looks like a human.. It eats like a human… It still walks and makes noise and resembles a human, but it’s not. It’s a zombie. It has no soul. It just uses it’s human body for its own purposes. You should read that Gungor post, it’s a great reminder that we are not to place a facade over ourselves or our work and mindlessly wander consuming anything in our paths, but to actually be human, full of life and creativity.
The Story: John 11. Lazarus is raised from the dead.
Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in grave clothes, his face wrapped in a headcloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!”
- What stood out to me the most was that very last phrase – unwrap him and let him go! Jesus comes into our lives and unwraps the death shroud that engulfs us…removing the layers of death that bind us. He sends us out into the world and let’s us go.
- We grieve, but know that death is not the final chapter and therefore have hope in life everlasting.
- Eugene O’Neill has a play called Lazarus Laughed. In it he explains that Lazarus’ joy in living is now irresistible: “Laugh with me! Death is dead! Fear is no more! There is only life! There is only laughter!” We know that death does not have the final say, that there is another, better chapter after this one here. We also know that there is a time for grief and mourning. The hope that we have is that Jesus crushed death and in the end life wins. Love wins.
- “If darkest night is upon you as you read these words, know that the risen Jesus is wild about you even if you can’t feel it. Listen beneath your pain for the voice of Abba God: ‘Make ready for my Christ whose smile, like lightning, sets free the song of everlasting glory that now sleeps in your paper flesh like dynamite.” – Brennan Mannin.
- We are called to Life by Jesus. We become resurrected from our former selves, and enter into new life. We have glimpses today of the kingdom that will one day be the full reality. And more than that, we are called to help create kingdom life glimpses – to discover them around us. We are to live life with meaning instead of being hollowed out beings, mindlessly wandering and consuming people and things that we find along the way.