The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Living in resurrection

Pentecost calls us to practice discipleship and forgiveness

"Practice resurrection." Wendell Berry concludes a poem with these words that echo Paul's to the Christian community at Rome. Baptized into Christ's death and resurrection, Christians radiate resurrection. Christ empowers them to "walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4).

Illustration by Randy BeumerWe latter-day Christians talk about resurrection. We confess resurrection in creeds that believers have recited for centuries. We re-enact resurrection with each turning of the liturgical year. But what does it mean to "practice resurrection?"

The question is appropriate for Pentecost, the long liturgical season that stretches until the end of the church year. Practicing resurrection begins with resurrection practices. Two in particular are deeply rooted in the stories of the season. Both bring life out of death: They leap from the tomb and into a life of ministry. One is the practice of discipleship. The other is the practice of forgiveness.

I remember coming out of a movie theater into the bright light of an afternoon sun. For a moment I ducked back into the darkness because the light dazzled my eyes. I had to cover them until my pupils adjusted. How much brighter is Resurrection — and how great the temptation to choose darkness over that great light. The Risen Christ made that allowance for the disciples' need to adjust.

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