It seems hauntingly apparent that there can be no resurrection unless there is death. Yet this is, historically, something I have attempted to avoid, preferring instead a victorious, suffering-free version of resurrection. And indeed, this death can be avoided, if Jesus only achieves resurrection for us and does not invite us to walk in his steps. But if we consider resurrection as “a map for the journey”, our relationship to it becomes far more participatory; it becomes a great pilgrimage into the unknown.
Jesus says that true life is found in losing our life. One way I have understood this is my need to learn to embrace the reality of my powerlessness and failure. In order to find this life or resurrection he offers, it seems there must be loss. I feel myself drawn back to an ancient Christian practice, but from a different angle: that of constant confession of sin; not in a legalistic, self-flagellating, fearful, begging kind of way, but as a repeated filial confession of weakness, doubt, anxiety, and so on, and the acceptance that I can do nothing to save (heal) myself.
I also think of loss in terms of laying my life down for others and suffering loss for the sake of love. Whatever appears to be the path of descent can also be understood as the path of death. We need only do the dying, the losing, the giving in, the confessing of weakness; resurrection itself is beyond our ability to influence. So I think we take the path of descent and hope that God will be there at the bottom. Jesus assures us, “I am the resurrection and the life”. If we meet God “at the bottom”, maybe that is where we also meet “the resurrection and the life”.
I guess this is where faith comes in. For me, faith is better understood as trust. Personally, it often feels like blind faith – trust when I have nothing left.
No strength of conviction or confidence.
A trust born of desperation rather than bravery.
A surrendering to the darkness.
So we learn, day to day, to seek out this downward humble path of trust and love; of prayer and confession; of vulnerability, honesty and weakness. We do this and we pray, “Whatever happens, happens. Lord, I am in your hands and my only hope is you now”. Resurrection in my day-to-day life is the finding of life in the depths of loss; faith in the abyss of doubt; God at the bottom, waiting for me in my deepest wounds.
[ Image: Hartwig HKD ]