ODJ: practising resurrection

November 5, 2015 

READ: 1 Corinthians 15:20-58 

My dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless (v.58).

Believers in Jesus look forward to two great events in the future: our resurrected bodies and the ‘resurrection’ of our groaning planet into a new heaven and earth full of beauty, healing, justice and joy (Isaiah 11:4, 65:21-23; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; Revelation 21:1-23).

But while these are future events, they’re to guide our lives today. Jesus calls us to be salt and light in our communities and to pray God’s will be done on earth, not just “in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16, 6:10). Paul ends his lengthy explanation of resurrection with a call to action: we’re to “work enthusiastically for the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). So how can our future hope shape our present work?

We can take some inspiration from groups such as The Simple Way community in America. More than 15 years ago, Shane Claiborne and some friends moved into a large city district where poverty and crime are plentiful. There they’ve been ‘practising resurrection’. They’ve taken abandoned buildings and turned them into community centres where at-risk kids can get help with homework. They’ve taken overgrown areas and turned them into urban gardens. They’ve painted colourful murals on the walls of old blocks of flats. When a child mentioned that it was “easier to get a gun in our neighbourhood than to get a salad”, The Simple Way community built a greenhouse to grow vegetables to share. The community has gone about making ugly things beautiful and bringing dead things to life.

Following Jesus, Shane and his friends are giving their community a glimpse of what resurrection life looks like. And as they serve others, they’re displaying that “nothing [we] do for the Lord is ever useless” (v.58).

—Sheridan Voysey

365-day-plan: Acts 19:1-20

Read Revelation 21:1–22:21. What would your community look like if this vision came true in it today? 
What gifts, talents and abilities do you possess? How can you use them to ‘practise resurrection’ in your community?