Thursday, April 07, 2011

Blogging Towards April 10, 2011

Does faith in Jesus really change anything in life?  Is it just a crutch to help us get through the difficulties that we face?  Is it merely a metaphor that we invoke for hope?  Is his bodily resurrection a game-changer; transforming the very essence and structure of the universe?  No matter our answer as we wrestle with those deep questions, the essence of Christian faith is a living-in-the-tension between the hope of resurrection and the finality of death which is all to palatable and familiar to us in our lives.  Our faith is based upon resurrection, the idea of life overcoming death, light overwhelming darkness, the power of love and grace surprising the power of force and violence.  But what does that mean for us in our daily lives?

Ezekiel portrays a vision of life returning through the presence and power of the Spirit of God.  It's more than just what was dead living again.  What was destroyed and divided is reconnected and reinvigorated.  The text of John is curious.  Why doesn't Jesus go right away to Lazarus?  His non-reaction seems almost to be a callus calculation to let him die so that something else can happen.  But maybe he didn't know Lazarus's situation was that desperate?  What if even Jesus was surprised by the destruction and division that death can bring: in terms of biological life, and in terms of relationships and community?  Why don't the sisters give up on Jesus when he seems to not meet their expectations?  Something deeper than just the raising to life of Lazarus is going on.  It's more than a cold cadaver returning to a warm body.  It seems to point to connections being remade, relationships grown, life not just being turned-back-on but radically transformed - much like the vision of Ezekiel.  Where we talk about resurrection it's usually focusing on the christological and soteriological  aspects: how one resurrection changes all of the universe.  But we usually frame it on an individual level.  How does resurrection change our relationships, our connections, our commitments?  I wonder how the relationships between Jesus, Lazarus, Mary and Martha changed that day?  We know that the religious leaders became even more calculated, seeking to eradicate not just Jesus but Lazarus too.  But what happened on the other "side".

For people that talk about resurrection, that claim to live lives shaped by that promise, how much do we let resurrection shape our vision of life?  How do we practice resurrection in our daily lives when we encounter the homeless?; when our city, state and national budgets are imploding?; when we're divided over issues of gender, race, sexuality and class?; when our society is increasingly polarized by our demonizing-of-the-other-side rhetoric?  How might practicing resurrection each day shape, change and potentially heal those relationships, encounters and dialogues in our days?

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