Truth: we’ve all had a resurrection of one kind or another.
Bill Bryson wrote, “It is always quietly thrilling to find yourself looking at a world you know well but have never seen from such an angle before.”…
Until I investigated further, this probably would have been the extent of how I would have described my personal understanding of The Resurrection.
1. The act of rising from the dead or returning to life.
2. The state of one who has returned to life.
3. The act of bringing back to practice, notice, or use; revival.
My search for a deeper understanding took me everywhere.. church pews, quirky conversations with holy people and book upon book of wisdom teachings.
The Jesus that I now know comes from my quiet and intimate study of teachings, not from formal religion. I’ve integrated much of this wisdom into my daily life and spiritual practice and I’m much better off as a result.
I discovered, when I compare the words of Jesus to the teachings of the Buddha, it’s very difficult to find contradictions
“Redemption and resurrection are neither words nor objects of belief. They are our daily practice. We practice in such a way that Buddha is born every moment of our daily life, that Jesus Christ is born every moment of our daily life.”
“When we understand and practice deeply the life and teachings of Buddha or the life and teachings of Jesus, we penetrate the door and enter the abode of the living Buddha and the living Christ, and life eternal presents itself to us.”
~ from Living Buddha, Living Christ
It wasn’t until I had my own intimate experience with resurrection that I fully got what renewal and rebirth could provide…. I might have otherwise only described resurrection as the quote “barn’s burnt down, now I can see the moon” and how that’s as much a story of resurrection as anything. So many times everything feels done—hopeless—all feels lost and dead and I wonder how I’ll possibly carry on and then, 100% of the time after the barn burns, my view is so much wider, more beautiful and I see the road in front of me, illuminated by the now visible moon.
But this was an intellectual understanding… until I climbed a redwood tree that had just survived a fire, I didn’t really get it.
An article I wrote from that day reads:
“The soot makes the climb harder.
She was in the center of the inferno and the first 50 feet of her got cooked alive. The burn is thin- it feels like philo dough and flakes off as I cling, climbing higher and higher.
I couldn’t have gotten here a year ago— couldn’t have gotten near her. The fire had raged for days— burning years of history and memories and wiping out nearly all the life that wasn’t ready.
As I hiked up to her, the similarities between here and home begin to overwhelm me. It feels like we’ve all emerged from our own fires—as a world, as a nation, as a man, the soot still clinging to me, the aftermath still devastating and real.
The fire here was so intense, it even burned out it’s own trace.
The smaller trees aren’t half cooked- half dead; the ground isn’t covered with ash and debris. You don’t see the soot on those other tree’s— they simply don’t exist anymore.
The rage was so intense what once was, simply is or isn’t now. They either fully made it or they didn’t. Plain and simple.
In the redwoods—it’s still and quiet. I have more reverence than before– seeing how the fire cleared way for them— anything holding them back has been removed and now they are free- free to spread and strengthen and renew again. It’s like watching the earths own Resurrection and I wonder if it’s the third day like the bible says.
The fire awakens a redwood forest— years of the world’s muck had been building up around their bases—the air not as clean, the sun not as visible. The ground became crowded and a fight for nutrients was well under way. Then, the fires began and the awakening, the resurrection, commenced.
I climbed for hours. When I get up into her, I look back to see my progress. Her blackened core is as solid, straight and significant as ever. At her base, I see the angels—the ring of new tree’s that emerged, resurrected immediately in the hours after the flames died back— a perfect circle, guardians of the giant—patiently waiting, emerging, preparing for resurrection again and again— it’s this magnificent tree’s divine back up plan.
If the fire took her, she’d resurrect form the circle of seeds, emerging stronger than ever.
I think about how blackened we are—how we’ve emerged from the fire and what we’re left with. I think about my guardians and the circles that surround our nation, this planet, and me.
I realize resurrection is within all of us, nobody gets thru without resurrecting a few times.. it all looks different and sounds different and we all experience it differently.. but we all resurrect.
I watch the waterfall.
I stand on her limb and am jealous of her silence and strength and steadiness amidst the complete chaos of the water.
It’s who I want to be—alive because of the chaos, steady, straight and strong because of my deep commitment to it all.”
“Let every man and woman count himself immortal. Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection. Let him say not merely, “Christ is risen,” but “I shall rise.” — Phillips Brooks
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