Resurrection of the dead is one of the most difficult Christian doctrines to understand. It is easier to find imagery that allows us to glimpse resurrection than to define it.

When religious leaders in the first century die, their followers usually return to their homes or find a new prophet to follow. Yet after Jesus’ crucifixion, something happens that changes the common pattern; communities coalesce with a witness to Jesus’ life and teachings even stronger than during his lifetime—to the point that they are willing to give their lives. That something, we believe, is Jesus’ resurrection—particularly his resurrection appearances. In today’s passage, Paul calls this change-making difference the resurrection of the dead. And it has the power to change the direction of the living.

In Wagamese’s writings, appearances of deceased relatives play a direct role in the characters’ journey toward healing. In Indian Horse, Saul receives strength and support through a vision of his ancestors. Saul returns to the residential school where he was taken as a child and remembers for the first time that he experienced sexual abuse by a favorite priest. Then Saul returns to his family’s original home, God’s Lake. There he has another powerful vision of a gathering of his ancestors—a vision of the resurrection of the dead. And with this vision, his healing occurs. He reenters society and lives for others rather than for himself. In this he is much like all those whose lives are radically rearranged by the resurrection of Jesus.

Ojibway fiction draws us into a deeper understanding of the resurrection of the dead. Beyond Christ’s provision of hope for a future beyond death, the resurrection of the dead may offer us healing through which we can reestablish a new relationship that brings us closer to Christ in this life.

Connect me, God, with my benevolent ancestors, the communion of saints. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 6:17-26

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Lectionary Week
February 11–17, 2019
Scripture Overview

God wants us to be rooted firmly in our faith. Jeremiah contrasts those who put their trust in themselves with those who trust in God. The latter are like healthy trees with deep roots and a constant water supply, never in danger of drying up or dying. The psalmist uses the same image to describe those who meditate on God’s teachings. Thus, as you do these daily readings and reflect on them, you are sinking deep roots into fertile soil. Agricultural imagery is continued in Paul’s letter. Paul describes Jesus Christ risen in the flesh as the first fruit, meaning that he is the first of many who will be resurrected. In Luke’s version of the Beatitudes, worldly success is not necessarily an indication of God’s blessing.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read Jeremiah 17:5-10. Examine your heart. Do you place your trust in “mere mortals” or in the Lord?
Read Psalm 1. How do you seek to meditate on God’s word day and night?
Read 1 Corinthians 15:12-20. How has your understanding of the resurrection of the dead changed your living?
Read Luke 6:17-26. How do you hold together the paradoxes of Jesus’ blessings and woes?

Respond by posting a prayer.

This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”

Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.