Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Resurrection and the Mission of the Church

I am now reading "Theology of Hope" by Moltmann. I don't pretend I understand all his arguments regarding the the eschatological future of the church and of the whole creation. But I do appreciate some of his statements that are relevant to what we are doing now. His thoughts provide deep understanding of mission endeavors. I believe that every missionary activity that is happening right now is a continuation of the missionary zeal that the early believers initiated. They believe that the resurrection of the Christ is an earnest of a wonderful future that God has been preparing for those who believe in him.

The important question for theology is... if it were solely the risen "destiny" of Jesus that constituted the forestalling of the end of all history and the anticipation of the "destiny" still awaiting all men, then the risen Jesus himself would have no further future. Nor it would it be for Jesus himself that those who know him would wait, but only for the repitition of his destiny in themselves. The church would be waiting for that which has already happened to that Easter appearance...

It is not merely said that Jesus is the first to arise and that believers will attain like him to resurrection, but it is proclaimed that he is himself the resurrection and the life and that consequently believers find their future in him not merely like him. Hence they wait for their future by waiting for his future...the place of apocalyptic preservation to ens is taken by the mission of the church.

The missions can be understood when the risen Christ himself has still a future, a universal future for the nations. Only then does the Church's approach to the nations in the apostolate have any historic meaning. The apocalyptic outlook which interprets the whole of reality in terms of universal history is second compared with this world-transofrming outlook in terms of promise and missionary history.

Jurgen Moltmann, Theology of Hope. Available at Religion Online

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