As you know by now, we are reading through N.T. Wright’s, Surprised by Hope, and as I do, I might share a few thoughts on the matter. In the section which this quote comes from, Wright is making the case that the Christian hope is not about ‘going’ to heaven’ but about the Resurrection. When we started to move from the notion that the Resurrection (you know, Easter) was the essential Christian hope to the idea that heaven is the be all end all.
Resurrection by contrast has always gone with a strong view of God’s justice and God as the good creator. Those twin beliefs give rise not to a meek acquiescence to injustice in the world but a robust determination to oppose it. (p27)
He makes the point that when Christian society entered the revivalist phase in the West, when ‘going to heaven’ become the goal and not merely the Resurrection, that we lost our drive to correct the ills around us. No more Wilberforce or Wesley. Now, it was about escapism. Getting out of dodge. Who cares about what is left here.
And we can see that today in our American political system, where individualism reigns supreme, where greed is the idol of many, where, it is about ‘he who dies with the most toys wins’ attitude or the ‘Even so, come Lord Jesus and get me out of here’ mentality. You know who you are.
The Resurrection is a corporate event, encompassing the Church, them, God, Christ, the New Earth and the New Heavens and the New Jerusalem.