That word is very attractive to me, especially now.
I’m hungry for Resurrection.
There’s been so much difficulty over the last year, so much Death and Burial.
I’m so very ready for some new life.
Resurrection is a radical word and an even crazier reality.
Throughout my life, in church and in my Christian circles, I’ve heard this word a lot. And I’m afraid it’s lost some of its power and has become a pretty bland word to me.
But as I stop and think a little bit – especially in light of the very real challenges taking place in our world and in the lives of those around me – it starts to take on more of the weight that I think it should.
Resurrection isn’t just the opposite of death; it’s the anti-death.
It’s the ultimate humiliation and defeat of the Ultimate Enemy.
Death is loss, grief, sorrow, the long goodbye.
Burial is closure, a funeral, the final resting place permanently marked by a stone.
Resurrection steps into the funeral, into the cemetery and disrupts everything!
(I’ve been to funerals and cemeteries. I’ve never been to a resurrection. Imagine!?)
Resurrection is life renewed!
Resurrection is also a kind of metamorphosis, a radical transformation.
Our body goes into the ground and ultimately returns as a new, resurrected, glorious body, just as a seed goes into the ground (death and burial) and comes up radically different – beautiful, large, and fruitful.
That is what I’m hungry for.
That is what is swirling around in me wanting out.
That’s why I find myself so bothered, so unsettled, so frustrated with death (in any form).
I think we’re supposed to be.
I think maybe that’s the point.
Death isn’t supposed to be natural to us, because it’s not the original plan.
Our “Imago Dei” won’t let us be okay with it.
God of Life, you take the brokenness of death and redeem it.
You turn a burial into a planting.
You turn death into new life.
And you do it in glorious ways!
Would you make me pointedly aware of this today, this week, and beyond?
Would you show me, would you remind me, would you strengthen me with the power and beauty of Resurrection?
As you read, try to place yourself in the scene and pay attention to what you see, hear, and feel. Can you get a sense of her grief? Jesus’ gut-level compassion? The reaction of the onlookers? The beautiful tenderness of “and Jesus gave him to his mother”? Make note of those thoughts and why they stand out to you.
What does this all-too-familiar story stir in you today about the heart of the Father for this son who “was dead, and is alive again”?
Even in knowing and trusting Jesus, I often find myself in places of doubt and confusion, questioning his method, his timing, and maybe even his care for me. What do you see of yourself in Martha and Mary? How do you think Jesus responds to you in it?
Here is “the rest of the story” as they say.
As you read this passage, notice the participation Jesus requires from the other people in the story. What actions does Jesus require of the observers and of Lazarus himself? How might God be asking you to participate in the resurrection that you long for in your own life?
Imagine this dinner party! Jesus is the guest of honor, Martha is freely serving (no longer complaining about her sister). Lazarus, once-dead-but-now-very-much-alive, is reclining with Jesus at the table. And there, soaking it all in, tender Mary is moved, is loved into extravagant response.
Is there anything in this scene that turns into a prayer within you?
John 4:1-19, 25-30, 39-42
Here is a resurrection story of a different sort, but a resurrection nonetheless.
A woman has come for water, and she meets Jesus. Verse 28 is a subtle picture of the fruit of that meeting: “Then, leaving her water jar…” – (the very reason she had come to this place). Her priorities have changed because she has encountered Jesus!
What are some things you have gladly left behind as you have started following Jesus? Are there other things that you hold onto that you would like to leave behind in your new resurrected life? Speak with Jesus about these things.
SHOW THE WAY by David Wilcox
You say you see no hope, you say you see no reason we should dream
that the world would ever change
You’re saying love is foolish to believe.
‘Cause there’ll always be some crazy with an Army or a Knife
To wake you from your daydream, put the fear back in your life…
Look, if someone wrote a play just to glorify what’s stronger than hate,
would they not arrange the stage
to look as if the hero came too late?
He’s almost in defeat
it’s looking like the evil side will win,
so on the edge of every seat,
from the moment that the whole thing begins
It is Love who mixed the mortar
And it’s love who stacked these stones
And it’s love who made the stage here
Although it looks like we’re alone
In this scene set in shadows
Like the night is here to stay
There is evil cast around us
But it’s love that wrote the play…
For in this darkness love can show the way.