Abba's Child 6 - The Present Risenness of Jesus

For me, the most radical demand of Christian faith lies in summoning the courage to say yes to the present risenness of Jesus Christ
— Brennan Manning, Abba's Child p. 100

Okay - I admit that in the midst of Lent, it's probably a little frustrating to jump to talking about the risenness of Jesus. And yet, as Manning points out, the resurrection is NOT just an apologetic for a belief system. It is the dynamis - the power - for living a life of love and deep purpose. And, on this side of the resurrection, it's actually the reason why we can even do some of the deep, self-reflecting work we're invited to in this season of Lent.

If the central saving act of Christian faith is relegated to the future with the fervent hope that Christ’s resurrection is a pledge of our own and that one day we shall reign with him in glory, then the risen One is pushed safely out of the present. Limiting the resurrection either to the past or to the future makes the present risenness of Jesus laregely irrelevant, safeguards us from interference with the ordinary rounds and daily routine of our lives, and preempts communion now with Jesus as a living person.
— Brennan Manning, 101-102

As a Spiritual Director, it is not uncommon for me to hear a comment "hurled" into an uncomfortable narrative, "But, one day, I'll be in glory!" or "I can't wait for heaven!" or "I know in the end Christ will be victorious." It's almost as if the apologetic of Christ's risenness becomes like a child's waterwings, put on in order to keep us afloat when really, the fact that Jesus is risen means we can walk on water. It's interesting to me how often we "wear" our apologetics as a crutch that actually keeps us from living them. But that's another blog post. 

Knowing the future is integral to our faith. But deferring to the future in an effort to skirt the unpleasantness of a present narrative only blinds our eyes to the risen Christ right here, right now, being with us always, as he promised (Matt. 28:20). In the midst of the days that rattle and unglue us and get us aching for a day far away, the thing that we most need is this risen

How do we do that? We must have a "willingness to stand fast, [in] our refusal to run away and escape into self-destructive behavior" (107) - including the acceptable behaviors we condone like whittling away hours on facebook or continuing to work so we don't have to slow down and face our emptiness.

Resurrection power enables us to engage in the savage confrontation with untamed emotions, to accept the pain, receive it, take it on board, however acute it may be. And in the process we discover that we are not alone, that we can stand fast in the awareness of present risenness and so become fuller, deeper, richer disciples.
— Brennan Manning, Abba's Child, 107

If we are to be compassionate and Christ-like souls in this world, we must not defer encountering our untamed emotions and coping mechanisms that don't work for us anymore. As long as we believe our healing is in the future, we will continue to remain unintegrated and impotent in the present moment. Might I also mention - that doing this work is hard to do alone. In fact, Spiritual Directors and some counselors (who focus on therapies besides CBT) are able to help presence you with the presence of the risen Christ as you courageously look into the difficult parts of your narrative.

Will you let God love you? Not in the future for eternity...but right now, in this moment?


  • What most strikes you from this reading?
  • Sit for a moment with attentiveness toward your own body - notice the parts that feel tight, off-kilter, achy. Now, just gently put your hand on that part of your body...and imagine that the risen Christ is also present, putting his hand on top of your hand. Breathe deeply.
  • What was that like for you? Were you able to invite the risen Christ to be with you? Or were you distracted?
  • Did you skip over this? If so - where is your discomfort?


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