This Easter, we don’t need the half-time show. We need the good news. We need to hear this story again of death getting defeated, and we need to let it soak into our bones.
“Courage is fear that has said its prayers,” a wise woman said. It is time to hold to our faith, to find our courage through prayer.
The second life of Lazarus is still a mortal life--he will die again; and yet, it points to the resurrected life, to the abundant life in Christ that we can live even in the midst of lament.
On the one hand, we are only human. We are infected with fear and greed, with selfishness and a tendency toward despair. On the other hand, there is the good news of the Gospel: We are fully human. We are made in the image of God with the capacity to love one another, to be generous, to pour ourselves out for one another even as Christ poured himself out for us.
It may look like a spiritual desert out there, but there is living water running deep.
The choice of faithfulness is not binary. When we look back at crossroads, it may seem that there was only one faithful choice we could have made. The word of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that God is with us on whichever path we take. If it is a wrong one, God leads us back, or reshapes the path before us.
As much as we would like to have a vaccine against all kinds of sin, some protection against ever taking that first step on a journey of one temptation after another, this fallen state, this human condition, this weakness of the will infects our species... ....As we pray “lead us not into temptation,” that’s not bad advice: Keep your eyes on the cross. Relax, breathe, and walk, one step at a time.
When I come to a passage like the account of the Transfiguration, I have to say I am somewhat at a loss. Other than the survival of an accident, I have had precious few experiences that most people would call a mountaintop experience of God’s presence. The mysticism of the accounts of the Transfiguration don’t really connect with me.
The temptation, when we lift these passages out of their larger story, is to embrace self-sufficiency. If we just try harder, we can do what God says in the law; if we try even harder, we can do what Jesus says in the sermon on the mount. I can’t speak for anyone else, but my track record of just trying harder is not so great.