resurrection definition

some synonyms for “resurrecting”:  awakening, bouncing back, breathing new life into, brightening, coming to life, making whole, overcoming, reawakening, recovering, rekindling, renewing, renovating, restoring, resuscitating, snapping out of it, springing up, strengthening, waking up.

yesterday was resurrection sunday. a day where we tell the easter story and Jesus risen from the tomb and remember that out of the death & darkness, hope and new life emerge. i am so thankful for resurrection and all that it means and the entire week at the refuge was a really beautiful & sweet one. without friday & saturday of Jesus’ story, sunday means nothing. without death & suffering, there is no joy. our past is always part of our future. our stories are always a strange and holy mix of sorrow & joy, beautiful & ugly, dark & light, despair & hope.

while i love the word “resurrection” and all that it means, i have been meditating more on the word “resurrecting” this past week.



it’s a verb. it’s active. it’s ongoing.

it’s not an event but a way of living.

one of my favorite lines in a poem is from wendell berry, one of the most often quoted around easter time. he says, “practice resurrection.”

so many of us are resurrecting in all kinds of unique & wonderful & scary ways.

we’re waking up.

we’re healing.

we’re shedding things that hinder.

we’re coming to life again after a season of painful loss.

we’re finding our voice.

we’re uncovering our passions.

we’re discovering life in unlikely places.

we’re showing up instead of hiding.

we’re thawing hardened hearts.

we’re loving in new ways.

we’re trying new things.

we’re loosening our grip on things we once held tightly.

we are rebuilding after deconstructing

we are resurrecting.

while i love sharing this scripture from 2 corinthians 5:17 when we baptize people, “the old has gone, the new is here”, in my day to day living, i like to change it a little (at our wednesday house of refuge we sometimes call it the KIV version of the bible, kathy’s inconsistent version) to say “the old is always dying, and the new is always coming.”

that’s much more what real life is like for most of us.  

[quote type=”center”] the old is always dying, the new is always coming.[/quote]

this week is the refuge’s 7 year birthday. it’s often difficult for me to describe how significant this is for all kinds of reasons. when we started the refuge, we were a bloody broken mess after getting fired from our old church and had no business starting a new one. but thankfully God uses battered worn things to make new beautiful ones. for 7 straight years we have slogged it out relationally, spiritually, and emotionally in community.  there have been so many wonderful things about it and a whole helluva a lot of hard things, too.  i have had so many sleepless nights longing for an easier path. so many days i am just plain  sick and tired of relationship and love and all that God has laid on my heart about “church.” so many moments where i feel confused about where we’re going and why we’re here.  so many days where i wish we had a different past so our present could somehow be magically better.

but no matter how wacky it has been, it also one of those God-given places i can keep practicing what resurrecting means.

where the old keeps dying and the new keeps coming–not only in my own life but in our life together as a community.

where there’s no finish line, no “i’ve arrived”, “we have this nailed down”, no “i’ll never struggle with that again!”

where i keep learning all kinds of things i need to learn about awakening, bouncing back, breathing new life into, brightening, coming to life, making whole, overcoming, reawakening, recovering, rekindling, renewing, renovating, restoring, resuscitating, snapping out of it, springing up, strengthening, waking up.

where i keep remembering that resurrecting is not born out of life & ease & comfort & light.  it comes out of death & trouble & discomfort & darkness.

but it’s always coming. again, again, and again.  all kinds of lovely slivers of hope. joy. peace. love. mercy. forgiveness. grace. justice. beauty.

death and life, life and death. the old always dying, the new always coming.



* * * * *

ps: i wanted to let you  know, too, that we are hosting our next online class for ex-good-christian-women starting april 15th. 4 weeks of strength & encouragement & challenge to keep resurrecting. we don’t have a next date planned so if you want to catch it, phyllis mathis and i would love for you to join us!  each time we run one of these classes i am always amazed at the healing and action that emerges.


Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar is dedicated to creating safe and brave spaces for transformation and healing in real life, online, and outside. She co-pastors at The Refuge, a hub for healing community, social action, and creative collaboration in North Denver, co-directs #communityheals, a non-profit organization dedicated to making spaces for transformation accessible for all, and is the author of Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World, Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.


  • I liked the post today. Resurrection has deep and layered meanings. I think I may take the online course for Ex Good Christian’s. I am feeling like I am in the throes of a mid-life spiritual crisis. I thought I had exorcised lots of old religious baggage, but I see that I am not through with that particular journey, yet. Food for thought, definitely. Thanks for keeping it real.

    • thanks. laurie. would love to have you be part of the class…yeah, it seems as if there’s somehow always more baggage to shed. thinking of you from afar and glad you are here.

  • I have re-read this a couple of times, and there are new things that i get each time I read it.. “where i keep remembering that resurrecting is not born out of life & ease & comfort & light. it comes out of death & trouble & discomfort & darkness.” remains my favorite line. I think that along with this, it strikes me as what makes empathy so important. Those who have maybe not fully experienced the pain of dying, might not be able to completely connect with us as we are overcoming and restoring?

    I had a conversation the other day with a teen, who told her that I had seen a quote that Will Smith said, indicating ” if you are not present in my struggles, don’t expect to be present in my victories.” I think that along with the pain of coming to life, is also a greater awareness of others who painfully thawing and restoring too. Grateful for my fellow travelers who are now stuck with me. 🙂

    • thanks, stacy! it is true, coming to life means we feel both–the good and the bad and when we are dead in our souls, we feel neither. it’s awesome to be stuck together.

  • One thing I have been learning relatively recently is to be accepting of all that life brings, the good ans the bad, the happiness and the sadiness, the fear and the being confident, the strength and the weakness.

    I find that if I focus heavilly on diffficulties, my capacity to life life to the full is restricted. And that if I ignore difficulties, I become numb, or things get buried only to emerge at a later time.

    Other partos of the world are more settled with the pardoxes. I the west, there is this thing about appearances. In the states for example, I’m led to believe that people are regarded more highly if they are a leader. I sometimes am a leader, sometimes I’m a follower. In the UK there can be this “stiff upper lip”, that yes has a good point in terms of our resilliance, but we can distance ourselves at times. I know that sometimes I am capable and independent, self sufficient, sometimes letting people in is what I need for support and sense of community.

    And in both our countries, there seems to be this social pressure to be constantly striving rather tha the freedom to just “be”, never satisfied. What I find right here and now is that I am relaxed and at peace, content. But it does feel uncomfortable, as if somethign is wrong or i am anticipating something goign wrong, that this isn’t real. At the same time, I understand this as the peace of Christ that passes understanding and this is God’s intention for all of us even thought the world and sometimes what we do to ourselves will often conspire against that. Every day is a battle. Thankfully in Christ, it is a battle we can thrive in and live life to the fullest!

    • Thanks so much Adam. Re: “But it does feel uncomfortable, as if somethign is wrong or i am anticipating something goign wrong, that this isn’t real.” I struggle with this too. I just want to be joyful in the Lord but it’s scary to just let go. It’s probably because my childhood was so unpredictable living with an alcoholic. Never knew when all hell was going to break loose. I don’t want to be ‘addicted to a certain kind of sadness’ like the Gotye song says so well. I love Jesus so much and just want to be joyful in Him! The scripture I hold onto these days is Romans 15:13 “May the
      God of Hope fill you with all Joy and Peace as you Trust in him”. Thanks for always sharing your heart!

      • I hear ya Irene. This is somehtin I am only realising recently and I can identify with what you say about being uncomfortable. I was only the other day talking with my mum about being content and at peace and how wierd that felt as if somethign wasn’t right. But isn’t that how we are to be in Chirst? I guess so much of life conspires against that and it is a battle to get to this place of contentedness and peace. For me meditation helps, I expereince pain and anger whilst meditating at times. But I find the discipline and courage it takes to “let go” as you put it to be joyful in Christ through the pure form of prayer in meditation conducive to getting there. Plus doing things like stand up comedy and organinsing and being involved with the ski meetup group I am in where my gifts and talents can be used to serve. I’ve also learnt about compassion. That helps too.

    • thanks, adam, i really agree with you that the striving part is what ruins so many of us. instead of just letting go and “being” we are sometimes working so hard to get to the next place. i keep learning that because that is in my DNA but it never goes down well and never brings peace. living in the moment, one day at a time, accepting myself and others the way way we are and seeing the beauty is so much free-er and brings so much more life.

      • Sounds like we are a bit similar maybe. I’m naturally a go for it kind of guy. But I learnt the hard way that you can’t always drive with the pedal to the metal. There is a brake and 1st 2nd 3rd 4th gears as well at 5th :). Love what you are saying abot the freedom to “be” seeing beauty and it being life giving. A nice wee present we can give to ourselves to let us shine and give other people the release to do similar 🙂


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