“Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.” Romans 6:3-5
Have you ever been told that you should learn something because you will need to know it later on? How often has that been true or not true? Trigonometry, Beowulf, the periodic table, folding that bottom sheet. I realize that much of education is about learning to think and learning how to find and process information, and not just collecting data. Surprisingly, although I did not find it fun and my ability to read the text quickly left me, my two years of studying the biblical languages have continually proven to be helpful. “Boker tov, y’all!”
It is not that I remember and use the few hundred words of Hebrew and Greek that I learned, but that I know those words have more meaning than just that suggested by the typical English translation. And I know how to find that information. Getting into the biblical languages, the original Hebrew and Greek, can open up the English text of the Bible to new insights. Bible veterans in particular may appreciate this, but newcomers can do this too. Fortunately, there are now on -line resources that make this an easier thing to do.
Consider an important word for this Easter season - resurrection. There are likely few words equal to and maybe none greater to our faith than resurrection. Easter is about the resurrection and without the resurrection there would be no Easter. Further, without the resurrection there would be no resurrection for any of us. Without resurrection we would have no future, no hope. Most Christians associate resurrection with coming back from the dead.
When we look at the Greek text, we find for resurrection the word ἀνάστασις or anastasis which is a compound of ana + stasis meaning to up + stand. Resurrection is literally to stand up. Going deeper we find that the root of the word stand is ἵστημι or histemi meaning not just to stand, but also to be in balance and to be steadfast. Resurrection is a returning from the dead, but it also is a standing up, a being in balance or what we might call true, and it is being steadfast.
Since none of those require one to be dead, I wonder about the possibility of practicing resurrection among us not yet dead. Is resurrection something we can practice before the grave? Standing up for justice, peace, and mercy is resurrection life. Living a balanced life of work, study, prayer, and rest might be resurrection too. Remaining steadfast in loving your neighbor regardless of their worthiness, could that be resurrection too?
Alleluia, Christ is risen. May you know resurrection too.