Believers in Jesus look forward to two great events in the future: our resurrected bodies and the “resurrection” of our groaning planet into a new heaven and earth full of beauty, healing, justice, and joy (Isaiah 11:4, 65:21-23; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; Revelation 21:1-23).
But while these are future events, they’re to guide our lives today. Jesus calls us to be salt and light in our communities and to pray God’s will be done on earth, not just “in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16, 6:10). Paul ends his lengthy explanation of resurrection with a call to action: We’re to “work enthusiastically for the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). So how can our future hope shape our present work?
We can take some inspiration from groups such as The Simple Way community in the US. More than 15 years ago, Shane Claiborne and some friends moved into a large city district where poverty and crime are plentiful. There they’ve been “practicing resurrection.” They’ve taken abandoned buildings and turned them into community centers where at-risk kids can get help with homework. They’ve taken overgrown lots and turned them into urban gardens. They’ve painted colorful murals on the walls of old tenement blocks. When a child mentioned that it was “easier to get a gun in our neighborhood than to get a salad,” The Simple Way community built a greenhouse to grow vegetables to share. The community has gone about making ugly things beautiful and bringing dead things to life.
Following Jesus, Shane and his friends are giving their community a glimpse of what resurrection life looks like. And as they serve others, they’re displaying that “nothing [we] do for the Lord is ever useless” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Acts 19:1-20
Read Revelation 21:1–Revelation 22:21. What would your community look like if this vision came true in it today?
What gifts, talents, and abilities do you possess? How can you use them to “practice resurrection” in your community?