I think we don’t have much of an idea what resurrection is or what it means. I think the sense of resurrection grows within us over time. When we’re younger, especially those of us who have resources and who grew up in relative safety, we are likely to feel strong and purposeful, all on our own. In the energy of youth, death seems far away, and we imagine that we can do many things and dream big dreams.
As life goes on, through lesson after lesson, we learn that we are not in control and never were. We realize that our bodies can get sick or suffer wounds, that our minds sometimes fail, and that our spiritual vitality relies on so much more than personal plans or intent. We sense ourselves as smaller and smaller parts in the vast system that is this neighborhood or nation or universe.
And once we have failed a few times, the concept of starting over is not so simple. We are weighted with past mistakes; our history gives us reason to doubt that life really can get straightened out. We don’t easily believe that we can progress enough to function in a healthy, loving way.
So, in some ways, resurrection seems more impossible the longer we live!
At the same time, grace becomes more important and more apparent. When we have sensed our own weakness, we become more willing to ask for help—from another person or from God. When we have been around for a decade or two and have witnessed God’s grace in action, we are more likely to depend on grace and look for it.
Probably, I will never understand what in the world resurrection is. That doesn’t bother me so much. The important thing is that I am learning, season by season, to recognize grace when I see it. And the habit is forming, in my heart and mind, to look for grace, ask for it, and hope for it. Maybe our growing ability to live in joy-haunted expectation is the path to resurrection.