Friday, April 06, 2007

The Hope of Resurrection

Courtney Love:
I fake it so true I am beyond fake
and someday, you will ache like I ache
someday, you will ache like I ache
someday, you will ache like I ache
someday, you will ache like I ache
someday, you will ache like I ache

Trent Reznor:
I hurt myself today
to see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
the only thing that's real

Ani DiFranco:
I wish he'd never come here with me
in fact I wish he'd never come near me
I wish his shoulder wasn't touching mine
I am growing older waiting in this line

Don Chaffer:
I don’t think I’ve ever wanted as much
to be free as I’ve longed to be known
and of the things that I hate as I look at my life,
the worst is my being alone

Nanci Griffith:
I was a child in the Sixties
when dreams could be held through T.V.
with Disney and Cronkite and Martin Luther
and I believed, I believed, I believed
now I am the backseat driver from America
and I am not at the wheel of control
and I am guilty, I am war, I am the root of all evil
Lord, and I can't drive on the left side of the road

There exists a common understanding that this world is full of a lot of hurt. We all have longings, unmet needs, crushed dreams, stolen innocence, empty places, delusions of grandeur and of obscurity. I’ve lived my whole life with an awareness that this hurt exists, and with the weight that I am somehow responsible for alleviating it.

When I became a Christian in high school, I entered a realm of confusion. I came to know the Hope of the World, and had absolutely no idea of how to share that hope with someone else. There was so much focus on marketing Jesus and morals that I had a hard time understanding how to speak to those hidden places of people’s souls. Several “methods” for sharing the gospel were shared with me during High School and college, and I didn’t use any of them because they felt cold and fake and they didn’t relay what I knew about the Messiah. I thought maybe I just didn’t get it, so I didn’t bother trying at all.

Service, on the other hand, made perfect sense to me. You have a need. I can touch that need. Jesus can touch your need through me. Jesus can touch your need in spite of me. For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.

Over the years I’ve had to participate in many “discussions” about family values and consequences of sin and moral society. I tend to get overwhelmed and avoid these interactions, because I know how much it takes out of me to capsize and relate what is so clear in my own mind, what has always been clear to my heart. Our society is screwed up, our whole planet is screwed up, and telling someone that abortion is evil or swearing is wrong or dress codes are good is not going to change someone’s heart. There’s a deeper hurt and a greater need and a violent loneliness that has to be addressed before any kind of moral code can be adopted.

We talked (excessively) at our retreat recently that we can not turn off the darkness, we can only turn on the light. This is so true about how we can speak into people’s lives. Hell, fire and damnation mean nothing to someone who is already drowning in it. We have to speak hope, and love, and forgiveness, and grace. And we have to receive those things for ourselves to be able to shine them into someone else’s life. We have to allow the Spirit to reflect back to us our own sorry state, then we have to accept the grace that is Christ’s death and resurrection, we have to bathe ourselves in the power of forgiveness. Only then are we free to go into all the world, and look people in the eye, and pour the love of Christ into the crevices life has chiseled into their hearts.

Luke 6:37-42
Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, “Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,” when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

This is the strange hope of Christ’s resurrection. Not so much that our sins are forgiven, but that He died for us while we were yet sinners. The table is set and the banquet is planned for sinners. God longs to be in a relationship with His people, and all of His people are sinners. And it is through that relationship that brokenness is made whole and emptiness is filled. And it is out of this resurrection of our souls that “moral” behavior emerges. Anything else would be adventitious or pretentious.


Ramón said...

Amen, sister. Amen. He is risen...

Angelika said...

Happy Easter!

Anonymous said...

Well said.

Anonymous said...

that picture is now my desktop!

dbj said...

Ramon sent me a link to this post - because it is thoughtful and beautifully written, and because this is something the two of us (along with a small community of believers to which we belong) have been talking about and aspiring to for the last couple months.

We went to an Easter service yesterday that communicated the opposite of your post, which made reading your words all the more encouraging. "We have to speak hope, and love, and forgiveness, and grace." Indeed. A dying/dead faith became alive to me (I thought I just didn't get it) when it stopped being about me being right and started being about God transforming me into an instrument of healing in the world.

Thanks for your words.

Dave Johnson