This is my new ink, thanks to Jeremiah and Mother’s tattoo.Elpida is the modern Greek word for the New Testament idea of hope. This word has carried a lot of meaning for me for a long time. I got it etched in initially about 5 years ago, and Jeremiah touched it up to match the rest of the design here.Resurgam is Latin for “I will rise again”. The monks of old used to have this put on their tombstone facing east towards Jerusalem and where they believed the 2nd coming to happen.
Ezekiel 47:1 The man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was flowing from the south side.3 As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. 4 He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. 5 He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. 6 He asked me, “Son of man, do you see this?”Then he led me back to the bank of the river. 7 When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. 8 He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Sea. When it empties into the Sea, the water there becomes fresh. 9 Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. 10 Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Great Sea. 11 But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. 12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”
This passage is my metaphor of what church is to be on earth. More accurately, this is what I think Jesus meant when he said: “may your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven”. The church is the people of God, those whose hearts belong to him and desire to be continually transformed into his image. It is not a place, an event, a belief, a feeling . . . it is a people. You can make a free choice to jump in this river and become a part of the movement of this people. The power of the Kingdom of God is present on earth. It’s very spirit is flowing from the temple into our world, first brought with the birth of the Christ in Bethlehem. Since then, the Kingdom is accessible through the source, which is Jesus. Through our mystical union with Christ, we are carried into life change. Transformation of ourself and transformation of everything we touch and choose to do good in. We are the trees planted on the sides of this river and since we are connected to the source (the river flowing from the temple), we teem with life and everything we touch teems with life. The spirit of the Kingdom of God is infectious, and we are carriers. We carry the virus of the hope and resurrection life of the Christ who is within us. We are participating in the eternal Kingdom of God both now and the world not yet. This river is our center, as long as we stay connected and nourished in it (John 15) then we will renact the Kingdom of God on earth. If we choose to do our own thing, we find ourselves lost.Frankly, when I read the Scriptures for myself, I do not resonate with the “gospel” I grew up hearing. One that was about a cognitive belief in historical information about Jesus who died for me thousands of years ago. And to be a good christian boy, just try my hardest to not make him mad. The whole point was to go to heaven some day and “being good” in the meantime was kind of like extra-credti work if you felt like doing it. Understanding more clearly the Kingdom of God, I have a relational connection to Christ. When I remain in the stream of this river, I am full of life and power. My life has meaning and context now. I am participating in the ongoing creation of a new heaven and a new earth that Christ is returning to unveil. I don’t think we’re supposed to be “good, safe, little girls and boys” as Christians. I think we’re supposed to be a part of the conspiracy, the rebellion, the resistance. This world and the enemies of God are active upon their destruction, who are the people that embody a rebellion to its cause? Here is where we live as the Church. We oppose wars, hatred, evil, loneliness, fear, isolation, suffering, hunger, poverty, abuse etc. etc. In a world of destructive voices we exist to SCREAM a bit louder. In a world of death, we ARE the people of the Resurrection. In a world of fear, we offer Hope and a home.So, in short, this is my mantra for what I believe the Church is all about. Hope and life is our rebellion, and it’s a beautiful rebellion.Stop and notice the Kingdom around you today,marshall