Forming Communities of Resistance: A 4-week series
“Working Preacher,” a preaching resource from Luther Seminary, outlines a series on Christian Communities and resistance. It provides readings and weekly reflections. You may adapt any of that material to fit your congregation’s needs. Click herefor the resource.
In electronics, resistance refers to the degree to which a substance opposes the flow of electrical current. However, the most common definition of resistance (according to the Oxford English Dictionary) is “the refusal to accept or comply with something.”
Differing ways of refusing to accept or comply with something have laden this word with political significance – think of the French Resistance to the Vichy government. However, we currently live in a world rife with patterns which have nourished greed, abuse, and alienation; as followers of Jesus, we are called to put up some resistance of our own – to stand against these patterns and create ways of life which honor our calling to see Christ in the other. If we are to take seriously this call to action, we look to honor and serve God through the material world – the world we live in now.
Walter Brueggemann describes resistance to these alienating ways of the world as ‘materiality.’ He goes on tell us “Jesus practiced materiality when he healed the bodies of the sick, proclaimed Jubilee to the poor, and fed the five thousand.” Our core hope in the church rests upon the fact that Jesus came to us ‘in the flesh’ and joined us in the material world. Brueggemann contrasts the materiality of Jesus with materialism: the former being in rooted in a “hope-filled obedience” which extends into our material existence, while the latter subjugates all aspects of life to the material comforts in the places where our lives unfold.
This series looks at how the material world meets the spiritual and we will look at those currents we are called to resist as we go about the circuits of our daily lives.