Ryan & Jordan

with Pioneer Bible Translators

Tag: resurrection

Like a Garden

by ryan

Good Friday was terrible to The Eleven (Judas seems to have already killed himself . . . to be or not to be . . . to obey or not to obey . . . ) and probably to Jesus’s mom and the other disciples too. Perhaps they might have called it “Failure Friday”. The Hope of Israel has been slain like a typical rebel against the Roman Establishment. In despair, Jesus’ body was sown into the dark of the earth, in a tomb. What was planted that day?

When we say “hope” these days we often mean something other than how I am meaning now. In Southern California we say, “I hope it snows tomorrow and school is cancelled.” But near the Pacific where I went to high school it only snows about every 10 years, if that, and I cannot recall a time it did not melt immediately when it hit the ground. So when we say, “I hope it snows so school is cancelled”, we still do our homework and make plans to go to school the next morning. We say “hope” to talk about wishful, dreamy, even whimsical ideas. And we don’t have much reason to believe these wishes will come true.

Hope is also a town in British Columbia. I’ve been beyond Hope, in both directions on the Trans-Canada Highway. While being beyond or without hope is not recommended, travelling near or beyond Hope, B.C. is encouraged.

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This is beyond Hope if you are coming from Vancouver. Photograph by Reiner Harscher, laif/Redux (National Geographic dot com)

 

I’m not typing about a town either. When I type “hope” I mean something else.  The Hope of Humanity is a person, He is the First Fruits of the Resurrection. When Paul said something like,

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. (ESV translation)

he does not mean we grieve like we are the Best Wishful Thinkers, changing the world with our Positive Disney Thinking. We don’t “Wish upon a star.” We know the Star Maker and believe, for good reason, that the One who resurrected the Hope of Humanity, will likewise resurrect us. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, especially chapter 15 is good reading on this.

In glory, he was resurrected in bodily form on the third day. If his body is a seed, how glorious is the plant who is alive?

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Season of surprise

by Jordee

My favorite time of year is finally here. Its arrival is particularly welcome after this frigid and long winter. Good riddance snow and ice and short days. Though I spend most of winter craving the start of spring, when it comes, I find myself pleasantly startled again and again. It brings more relief, more lightness of heart, than I had remembered to anticipate. It surprises me.

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To celebrate this season of new birth and surprise endings that are also the most natural, here is one of my favorite poems I’ve ever come across.

This time of year,
what with bulbs bursting
through to light, crashing
headlong into color, puff balls
of sudden pink, cloud clumps
of eager violet and white crowding,
clustering, clambering up and along
each naked stem and branch,
what with the gray lawn’s sweet,
impulsive greening, the chill creek’s
snow-melt speedy surface coat
of foam and flashing ripples,
what with these birdsong brimming dawns,
these chirping, marsh-born, peeper
chants that hymn the day to rest,
what with such hastening, glad abandon
rushing, coursing, flooding, charging
toward life, tales of a vacant tomb,
of bindings cast like scattered husks
and the rumbling of a cold, dead rock
to clear the way for all that is to come,
such tales seem almost natural. What else
should we have expected, after all?

– J. Barrie Shepherd

The Author and His Story

by Jordee

Ryan and I study diversity in the world’s languages. Language is rich and complex, and lots of scholarly energy is poured into finding what some call “language universals” so we can make sense of it. One of these universals is something we might have guessed. Stories. We learn from stories. Stories are what make up our histories, what define us and what we use to identify ourselves, what we read to and tell our children, what our children tell us, what we pass on through generations.

Of course, the structure of stories differs greatly from language to language. “Once upon a time” and “happily ever after” aren’t language universals. The scholar Robert Longacre, however, has suggested several story elements that are shared among a lot of the world’s languages. One of these elements he calls the “inciting moment.” The predictable is disrupted, plans take a sudden twist, the story isn’t what we had previously thought. The inciting moment gets the story going.

Sometimes we are happy trudging along in a comfortable and safe episode of our story, and we’d rather not be disrupted. About two weeks ago, we were on a pleasant run in a sunny park, when our car was vandalized. An unwelcome inciting moment happened. Plans were changed, our routine was disrupted, and the story of the next several days was not how we would have written it.

But it helps us to look at our stories as a part of a much Bigger Story.

We can remember the bigger inciting moments–
when God spoke the earth into being and called it good,
when He took on human form as Jesus,
when the tomb was found empty,
and when by His grace, He rescued us and made us His children.

These are the inciting moments of the Bigger Story, and the Author is using us to form it into a narrative for His glory. Every moment of our lives is a part of His story, and Ryan and I remain His dearly loved children in every beginning, every conflict, every climax, every resolution.

So if you have just experienced a discouraging inciting moment, or if you are just trudging along, we invite you to remember Jesus, the Author, who endured the cross and ignored the shame because He focused on the joy that was set before him.