BUILDING A LEGACY:
Learning, Discerning, and Leaning In
Part 5: Theology of Legacy Churches
We are resurrection people. Some important resurrection concepts:
Resurrection is not resuscitation.
Resurrection is a radical transformation, not a series of incremental changes.
Resurrection has parabolic power. It is more than factually true.
The risen Christ is not the same as Jesus, who was fully human as well as God incarnated, God in flesh. While the post-crucifixion appearances indicate some human characteristics, the resurrected Jesus is also more than human. The resurrected Jesus is no longer with us, present in the ways humans are present to each other, but the risen Christ is present always and everywhere.
If your vision for the future is to return to the past, a time of vitality and viability you once experienced, that is not resurrection. Returning to the past is resuscitation. There may well be things in the life of your congregation worth resuscitating and God will bless this
Resurrection is discontinuous, a radical transformation – the kind of change that comes with both great pain, great uncertainty, and great joy. Remember the pain of Good Friday, the uncertainty of the empty tomb, and the joy of experiencing the living Christ.
The power of parables is that their truth does not depend on the historical accuracy of the story. Does anyone dwell on whether the parables of the Good Samaritan or Prodigal Son are factual? The power of parables is that the story may never have happened but the stories are always happening. We see how these stories play out over and over again and the truth is reinforced each time.
The parabolic power of the resurrection is that we can experience radical transformation, a metaphorical resurrection, without actually dying. How can we say that a church that has completed its ministry has been resurrected? If it continues to be a part of the Body of Christ – members in new congregations, assets being used for God’s purposes, that church continues to live as a part of the Body of Christ.
Completing a ministry as an independent congregation is not failing – resurrection is succeeding.