Monday, April 16, 2012

"If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to pitied more than all men."

Paul writes this in 1 Corinthians 15:19, part of the larger passage that is the subject of today's reading from Stott on the significance of the resurrection.  This particular sentence struck me, because of my sense that the Christian conversation that I hear these days seems less about the future than the present, less about life after death than life before death.  The central question seems to be "how are we doing," an answer to which the success gospel is ready to supply.

In Paul's day, the Epicurean would pity Christians.  Life should consist of avoiding pain, those philosophers would hold, not being heedless of it, even to the point of seeming to seek it, as Christians were doing.  What a pity that John Stott did not seek the military career his well-connected father held out for him.  What a pity that Mother Theresa got off-track as a teenager or Paul off-track on the way to Damascus.  It makes no sense.

At least no sense without the resurrection.  Why do we seem to talk about the resurrection, then, just at Easter and mainly as it concerns Jesus and not also those for whom he died?

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