5 Stars Out Of 5
May 23, 2017
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Pauls opening words in Colossians 3 remind his readers that the basis for all our right thinking and right behavior is the resurrection of Christ and the believers participation in resurrection living. Eugene Peterson has been helping me in my understanding of this as I have read and pondered Practice Resurrection: A Conversation on Growing Up in Christ. Jesus alive and present changes everything, and a lively sense of Jesus resurrection, which took place without any help or comment from us, keeps us from attempting to take charge of our own development and growth. (8)
Understanding the Practice of Resurrection Living
Mining truth from the book of Ephesians and laying it down beside the words of poets, novelists, and theologians, Peterson said-without-saying-it that a wide and rich reading life will enhance ones ability to read and learn from Scripture. Continually making organic connection[s] from what you can see to what you cant see, he employs vivid metaphors to invite readers into Pauls exhortation to practice resurrection:
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beg you to live [or walk] a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called. (4:1) In the Greek, the word worthy comes embedded with a picture of a set of balancing scales. Does my life demonstrate a balance between my walk and my calling? It is interesting that the entire structure of Ephesians models this balance with chapters 1-3 focusing on Gods calling and chapters 4-6 examining the believers walk.
Pauls body of Christ metaphor emphasizes the homeliness of the church gathered. On one level, we see a building; on another level, we witness the reality of people and relationships that make up the family of God; on a spiritual level there is the truth of the believer as the dwelling place for God. With thirty plus years as a pastor on his resume, Peterson urges believers that when we consider church, we must not be more spiritual than God.
In the practice of resurrection, we work, but it is far more accurate to think that we are Gods work and doing Gods work. This takes the focus off me (and all my valiant efforts to rescue God) and puts the spotlight on the truth that the entire revelation of God is the story of God at work alongside the invitation to join Him.
Understanding Prayer and the Church
When the Apostle Paul calls the church at Ephesus to grow up, his exhortation reverberates through the centuries, incorporating a call to live in fellowship with a local body of believers and to spend plenty of time speaking the primary language that we use as we grow up in Christ this is prayer. Ephesians resonates with prayer language and comprises some of the richest and most fluently theological material in Pauls writings. When my children began to reach the age when my own prayers for them seemed shallow and limiting, I memorized Ephesians 1 and the prayer in Ephesians 3 so that I could join Paul on our knees before the Father instead of prescribing to God a plan of action that suited me.
The more I enjoy a book, the more difficulty I have in writing a review. Therefore, after having dog-eared pages and made a list of books that I need to read in follow-up, I feel as if Ive only just begun to understand the words of Paul the Apostle and Peterson the Pastor on the practice of resurrection. This may be the best possible outcome, for Im seeing that growing up in Christ means growing up to a stature adequate to respond heart and soul to the largeness of God. (130)
This, of course, we know is a process that will take all the long leisure of eternity to realize.
This book was provided by William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.