Many of you will know that I write meditative posts each Monday here on Oboedire based on Brian McLaren’s book, ‘We Make the Road by Walking.’ I do this primarily as a way of personalizing the book for myself, but also to encourage folks in the Oboedire fellowship to join in a common reading and reflection on this excellent formation resource.
One of the takeaways for me is McLaren’s interpretation of Jesus’ resurrection as an uprising–Jesus’ literal one, and the figurative one he set in motion in what we today call the Church. I have been drawn deeply into McLaren’s metaphor, believing more than ever that the first stone was rolled away so that our stones can be rolled away–that Jesus rose so we can arise and become part of God’s Uprising.
For me, as most of you already know, one expression of this uprising in my life has been an advocacy for unity in the Church in general and in The United Methodist Church in particular–unity that is inclusive of all God’s people–unity that can only occur when we build our individual and institutional spiritual house on love, non-judgment, and holy conversation.
Over the past year, I have discovered a host of people who affirm much the the same. I have heard from some and read about others who say, “I believe largely the way you do about unity.” I have been encouraged to realize there are many who share beliefs and practices similar to mine.
But in that number are stealth disciples–men and women who fly below the radar to avoid detection. In that number are bishops and bankers, teachers and truck drivers, pastors and plumbers, old and young, straight and gay people, men and women. In that number are many who support from the shadows.
Martin Luther King wrote about people like this in relation to the civil rights movement–people who said to him, “We believe what you believe and appreciate what you are doing,” but they never identified with the movement or actually became involved in it. In his Letter from the Birmingham jail, King lamented that the silence of friends hurt more than the vitriol of critics.
Connecting this to the resurrection, I take it to mean that Jesus’ resurrection was not meant to be an isolated event. It was aimed to create a ripple effect that moved from the first Easter morning, down the corridors of time, until he comes again. It means that Jesus’ rising up was intended to generate our uprising.
God is Light, and among other things this means our discipleship cannot be lived in the dark. The challenges are great, and they call for overt action, not simply covert affirmation. Appreciation does not produce transformation. There has never been a silent revolution or an invisible reformation. When death is being replaced by life, we have to come out and show up. The call is always to “Arise!”
Next week, I will propose some specific ways we can do this.