Last night, as I lay in bed, I was thinking about some of the things we were talking about on badguy’s blog a couple weeks ago, specifically the call to be peacemakers. Ric Booth asked me in the thread about “Being in the World but not of it” about whether it was not easier to want to be a sacrificial peacemaker without a family to risk. I’ve often thought that it is our fear of death that keeps us from participating in nonviolent, risky peacemaking. As I lay in bed, I revised that to say that maybe our fear is a fear of pain, especially emotional pain. We’re afraid of losing loved ones, of being absent from people we love. That makes good sense to be nervous about that, but it calls to mind Christ’s question,”What profits a man to gain the whole world but forfeit his soul?” And his warning that whoever would keep is life will lose it, but whoever forfeits his life for the sake of the Gospel will save it.
But as I kept thinking, I actually began to see that maybe it is really a fear of death that keeps us from peacemaking. Though emotional pain is part of that, it’s the fear of a complete unknown that haunts us. Death makes us face the big questions of life: is what I believe in really true? What will happen when I die? I have pondered those questions too, but as I thought more, I was comforted by a new way of thinking about the resurrection for me. As Christ comes, he announces that his kingdom is now available to all in a new way-repentence and turning to follow. His empire is different than Caesar’s, but even more powerful. Perhaps one way to think of the resurrection is to think Christ’s kingdom is colonizing the world of death. Christ is often described has having conquered death, and having victory over it. But maybe the imagery of colonization works here, because Christ’s kingdom now extends beyond the grave. We need not fear what is beyond death, because it is the same life that Christ promises us when he comes as a human being. We can be assured of the kingdom of God’s presence on both sides of the grave.
This may not be anything new to anyone, but it helps me conceive of the resurrection in another light. Peacemaking still requires us to believe this wholeheartedly, but maybe instead of becoming so focused on death, we can focus on life and the kingdom we’re taking part in now. Death becomes less scary if we belive that life in the kingdom extends into death as well. Death, the final frontier, has been settled for the Kingdom of God.