The Group's Monthly Letter - Signs of life, Signs of Resurrection
I have been reading Peter Rollins book ‘Insurrection’ and looking for signs of resurrection. As we met at the April Tree House, it was obvious to me that many of us are ‘sharing in the sufferings’, experiencing the attrition of the Wilderness, but we don’t seem to be sharing much of resurrection life, for many of us are caught in what appears to be a walk for survival.
I was hoping Rollins’ book would bring a little clarity on what is meant by ‘sharing in the power of resurrection’. Well, it kinda did, but there again kinda didn’t. I suppose the problem with any art-form is that when we go looking for it to answer specific questions we will inevitably be disappointed, because the artist was unaware of our ‘specific’ questions!
Rollins ‘bigs-up’ the suffering part of life, but when it comes to the resurrection experience, to the new life bursting forth in all exuberance then all we are left with are very small signs of life in contrition. Whilst Rollins affirms community as an expression of resurrection, “It is a community fully embracing life in all its joys and pain that is faithful to the Way of Christ.” Fine! But what does this look like in our everyday lives together? What does it look like when we are in the study or the studio creating our work? Rollins writes of affirming Resurrection, but then how do we do this?
“But there are times when we may affirm it: times when we embrace life, face up to our pain, allow ourselves to mourn. Times when we meet our neighbour, look at ourselves without fear, take responsibility for our actions, listen to our fears, find joy in the simplest things, and gain pleasure through embracing the broken world…For it is only when we are the site where Resurrection takes place that we truly affirm it. To believe in the Crucifixion and Resurrection means nothing less than enacting them.” [p180]
I may be barking up the wrong tree, or I may just be barking, but for me that looks like a cut-price, B&Q variety of Resurrection, flat-packed for convenience and still subject to the law of gravity, never able to break free from the Fall and move on to breakfast by the lakeside, or the ability to defy the solidity of other people’s concrete plausibility structures and walk through walls.
My problem is that there are so few ‘sites of resurrection’, which see a change in cultural direction, for it seems to me that as long as we are unable to support ourselves and our families through our gifts, then we are unlikely to see a cultural shift.
In the meantime I, we, continue to meet with our neighbours, listen to our fears, find joy in the simplest things and embrace the brokenness of the world, our world. At the April Tree House I think we saw signs of life, evidence of resurrection, joy in mark-making, the affirmation of life and brokenness in and through the voice of musical lament.
When it occurs, resurrection cannot be hidden away; it cracks open the tomb, clambers over garden plants and finds its way onto the highways and byways of life; for it is not an intellectual game, a mere theology, but a way of life and a way of art-making, of making a difference.