Eugene H. Peterson (1932–2018) was a pastor and teacher who dedicated his life to teaching women and men to live the whole of their lives before God. A Presbyterian pastor for nearly 30 years, he then taught at Regent College in Vancouver. Peterson revelled in God’s creation. He was at home in the breadth and depths of the Christian tradition. He dwelt long in Scripture, letting it shape his life with God, and much of his writing takes the form of extended meditations on Scripture, emphasising just how down to earth and fit for purpose Scripture is for our everyday spiritual formation. Above all, in his pastoring and writing, he sought to hold open space for people to encounter God and for each to embark on what he called “A long obedience in the same direction”, a life following Jesus. He was a remarkable servant of the church. Unsurprisingly, he’s also good company—we recommend you seek him out in his books.
Peterson is best known for his transposition of Scripture into contemporary American English, The Message. But he wrote many other books as well. One of those is Living the Resurrection: The Risen Christ in Everyday Life, first published by NavPress in 2006. In this short book, Peterson explores how Christ’s resurrection, and the Christian confession of the resurrection of the body, frames and animates our daily life now. The resurrection is not some mystery that happens over our heads; it is the event in the middle of everything, the event that reveals that, despite appearances, God is already on the move: in Christ, God is making all things new. The presence of the risen Christ—in the life of believers by the gift of the Holy Spirit—should, Peterson writes, illuminate all of life. He calls us to recover our resurrection identity and our ability to live in the light of Jesus’s resurrection from death.
The following article is excerpted from the final chapter of Living the Resurrection. In it, Peterson describes this resurrection life as a practice—that is, as a way of being in the world. He’s asking: what should mark my life now that Christ has been raised from the dead? What might this look like? And here, he focusses on holy baptism—and all baptism entails—as the doorway into life with God.
We’re grateful to NavPress for their permission to republish this excerpt here (it’s a faithful reproduction, so some of you will notice the US spelling). And if you enjoy this article, we recommend reading Living the Resurrection as a whole: you can find a copy here at the NavPress website -Ed.