Everyday Resurrection

Apr 10 / Jessica Shields
For many, we are on the go all the time. We rush to meet deadlines, keep up with a particular pace, or preserve what we do not want to lose. We might think, ‘I can’t slow down, because if I do, I will fall behind and if I fall behind, the goal will become unattainable and then that which I was hoping for will be gone…dead in the water…no more missed opportunity.’ So, we keep spinning our plates overhead, hoping they won’t fall. We work hard at avoiding loss, at avoiding death.

I recently spoke with a young woman about the decline of congregations and the closing of churches, and she said, “I don’t understand why churches are so afraid of dying. Isn’t that what churches believe and proclaim- death and resurrection?” She went on to say, “It’s important for some things to die to give space for something new to live.”

We work hard to avoid death, yet death is always around us. I have come to recognize death, loss, or change as an invitation to witness life. Death is not just an ending but a beginning of new life. This is what the resurrection is all about. This is why Christians celebrate on Easter Sunday, and all Sundays, that Christ is risen indeed!

When Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary found the tomb empty on Sunday morning. The angel told them, “He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen,” and when they saw the resurrected Christ ¹, their perspective on death changed in that moment. And in that moment, the perspective on death and life changed for all of history. That moment gave us a new perspective on death and life.

That was the moment resurrection became a real thing. Until then, it was a prophecy, a foretelling of what was to come, a part of Jesus’ narrative to his followers. But they couldn’t quite understand it or believe it. And how could they?! Until that moment when the resurrection happened, they had not yet experienced it.

Resurrection is not merely a doctrine of faith to believe in; it is something we experience now in our everyday lives. Our lives are full of deaths and resurrections. Recognizing and experiencing resurrection can change our lives right now.

I wonder, how do you experience resurrection in your everyday living?

I like a neat home. But with two kids, a husband, and a dog, our home is seldom tidy for long. When our family has a house cleaning party, especially after it is really messy and dirty, and the party ends and the house is clean, it feels like the house has a new life. It feels like a resurrection experience.

When I get a long, rejuvenating night of sleep after an exhausting day and wake up feeling like I have received new life, it feels like a resurrection experience.

When I recognize my own faults and shortcomings and can make amends through forgiveness and reconciliation, it feels like new life has been given. It feels like a resurrection experience.

Whenever we see ourselves, others, and the world around us through the lens of love and opportunity for new life, we experience the resurrection.

Resurrection is not just something for Easter Sunday. Resurrection happens whenever we witness or experience new life, a new outlook, or a renewed relationship. Resurrection happens whenever one thing comes to an end yet yields something new. We believe and proclaim with confidence and hope that death happens, but it is always followed by life, new life. So, what are we so afraid of?

The next time we try to keep all the plates of our busy lives spinning, when we try to avoid letting the plates fall, maybe we should just let them… fall. Let death happen. Let things die. Because we know that death does not have the final word and that death always gives way to new life, we experience the resurrection in our everyday lives.

¹ Matthew 28:1-6 NLT

Jessica Shields

Jessica Shields is an ordained pastor in the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America), serving a congregation in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. She completed a faith formation program for spiritual deepening and contemplative practices with the Shalem Institute in 2014. In May, Jessica will complete her Spiritual Direction Training Program with the Companioning Center. She has a heart for contemplative spirituality and strives to integrate it into the life of the Church while also offering spiritual direction whenever the invitation presents itself. Jessica and her husband, along with two daughters and a dog, live in Ohio.