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Moltmannia: Resurrection on the Horizon

August 6, 2009

The momentum is building for the Moltmann conversation, and the book stack is growing, too. So I’m forging ahead through his first major work, and enjoying it quite a bit. Can’t wait to see my friends and to sit at the feet of this august scholar who has shaped so much of theology over the past 50 years.

Through all of his work that I’ve read so far, the metaphor of ‘horizon’ is one that is constantly at play. Which is to say that Moltmann sees time as elastic, and relatively unimportant. What matters to him is the future, and the way we’re vectoring toward it. So especially for one of the central events in Christian theology, if not human history: the resurrection of Jesus. For Moltmann, this resurrection is not primarily an event in the past as much as a prolepsis for all of history and humanity. The church’s yearning for the (yet) future coming of Jesus stands as a reminder that Jesus’ resurrection is not just the first resurrection of the dead (of many) but the source of the risen life for all believers.

“They wait for their future by waiting for his future” (Theology of Hope, 83)

So the Risen Christ is not static but marching toward his goal (Barth), and his work is not yet completed, and not yet concluded (Barth again). So, too, for his followers as they follow after him in life and death and resurrection.

I suppose there is some comfort in seeing Jesus as past, staid, static, and finished. In a world of uncertainty and filled with myriad unknown futures, we long for answers, foundations, and moorings. But I’d rather look forward. I’d rather follow a Christ who is still waiting, striving, straining. Who will one day find his fulfillment and rest, who will take his place on the throne, yes, but who is now working alongside those who would join him in the renewal of all things.

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