On our way home this weekend I picked up a small book. The Introduction was written by now Archbishop Desmond Tutu Emeritus. The title of his introduction is, “I diminish you, I diminish myself.” He wrote with poignant reflection on life before the emerging new South Africa. He shared stories how one group had diminished another. Tutu then made a point that caught my attention more than the title. He noted that the one diminished may help the one who diminished him or her (in this case the one in power) to become human simply in their response. To behave in kind, that is diminishing another, is to respond in-humanely.
This is an interesting way to describe what it means to practice the resurrection. Our response to another may be the key to helping both demonstrate our full humanity in Jesus as well as encouraging the same in the other.
We often wonder why Jesus told us to respond to adversity the way he did. It may well have been Jesus was wanting us to respond as fully human in as lived out by Jesus by turning the other cheek, carrying the extra mile, praying for those who mistreat you, and by taking up his actions of not responding with cutting words before the powers but with silent resolve to be human. It may well be what the Apostle Paul meant when he suggested we do all we can to live at peace with others, to consider others more important than ourselves, and to bear with one another.
Sometimes when we think of practicing resurrection we do not think about how this looks in our relationships. Recently Leonard Sweet wrote a book in which he referenced a Scripture turned into old hymn. The phrase, “I know whom I have believed,” demonstrates it does not matter what you say you believe but what really matters is in whom you believe. On the one hand it may be that we say we believe lots of things. On the other, the point of the phrase is that our relationship with Jesus matters and it matters in our relationships with others.
I could not help but think of how these things worked out in the long road out of apartheid. I also got to thinking that no matter the time nor era Jesus, his words and his actions still have their place. In fact, in every day and age we are called on to practice resurrection in the present – not the past or future but now. How are you practicing resurrection?