Restoration or Resurrection?

(A Lection Reflection on Easter)

In another Lection Reflection, I talked a little about the scope of Easter. I made the point that Easter was more than a one-time event; it is, instead, a part of God’s ongoing work in the world. God is in the business of bringing new life to dead things: dead persons, dead relationships, dead institutions. The promise of Easter is not just for eternity; it can also be for the here-and-now.

One important point, though, is that when God gets involved, the nature of the thing being resurrected (is that a word?) seems to change. In other words, God seems to be in the business of resurrection, not restoration.

The truth of this is obvious, once we think about it. Jesus indicated that his new body wasn’t the same as his old one. Saul of Tarsus got his sight restored, but his seeing changed. All through scripture, we hear that God is going to do a “new thing” — not just a repeat of the old thing.

So, when we ask God to get involved, to “bring new life” to this or that, we’d better be prepared for resurrection, not just restoration. Yes, life can return, but the nature of the thing will change. Possibly in ways or directions that are completely unexpected.

In fact, I would venture to say that the movement of God is often, maybe always, unexpected. So we shouldn’t be surprised when the newly-resurrected thing looks like the old thing from one vantage point, but looks different and even strange from another vantage point.

God brings life, of that there is no doubt. But God also brings change, and newness, and unexpectedness. The disciples wanted Jesus back. Instead, they got the Christ.

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