Rise up & see the promised land

IF I TOLD YOU I believe a man was raised from the dead you might call me a madman. Or, you might say I have faith. But there is one thing I know.

I need the resurrection. I need it now more than ever.

I need to see life again in those dead places, in those places where it seems like there is no hope.

Many turn to hate and rage to fill the void inside. I understand this.

The injustice of this world tempts me to embrace the anger that might swell inside me.

I see the corruption and abuse of power, and I too wish it to be struck down.

In some twisted way, it might even seem reasonable. For good to thrive, evil must die.

Still, I know this is the road to perdition. If freedom is won by force alone, the liberated today will place their boots on the neck of tomorrow.    

Others turn to despair, as if deepening the inner void will somehow swallow up all their pain.

So they turn the channel again and again, fixated on digital anesthesia or a chemical numb that puts them to sleep but never gives them rest.

Meanwhile, the emotional and spiritual debt piles up sky high.

Still, I see others in a fight for their lives. Tragedy, conflict, crisis, loss, and pain of immense proportions.

Is it coincidence, or do we hear of hurt and suffering more than ever these days?

Brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, daughters and sons are in pain everywhere. Even in the midst of celebration, sadness seems to linger over the earth.

Too much has been lost too fast.

And in this desolation, one thing makes perfect sense to me.

Something that at face value seems crazy and absurd, but in my heart of hearts it gives me closure.

The Son of God came to earth to die for me… and to rise from the dead for me.

Jesus was crucified for saying that he was the Son of God, the Messiah. The charge was blasphemy.

Then against all belief, he rose from the dead on the third day, vindicated.

Victorious. 

And that is exactly what I need these days.

Victory over sin and death.

So I go to the resurrection to find life. I return to the empty tomb to know that tomorrow still holds hope.

I marvel at the power of the Spirit of God who creates the universe and can raise the dead. And I ask for those dead places inside me to rise up as well.

Like Lazarus, I ask them to come out. May the dead man come out walking to live again. 

So the desire to rage, ignore, or withdraw into a corner gets put to death.

I fall to my knees as forgiveness is plentiful.

And my spirit rises up to embrace the current age with all its complications and troubles.

I don’t care if it’s messy, bloody, and cruel.

In the desolation, hope must shine even more brilliantly.

Joy sings out with a loud clear voice saying: be steady, be strong, be clean, be healthy.

Instead of saying to hell with the world, the Spirit tells me heaven is closer than ever now.

But like Jesus, in his risen body, may our wounds remain visible. I don’t ask for a fairytale rebirth.

Let us look upon our scars and remember the story there. Let us remember that innocent blood soaked the earth on Calvary.

Let us look upon the print of the nails on his hands and feet and know that a price was paid.

And here I find why the resurrection means so much to me.

From those living wounds, made real in the risen Christ, the peace of God flows abundantly out to all humankind.

And this is wonderful news for any era, under every circumstance.

It’s the promised land flowing with milk and honey.

It’s the extravagant love of God.

And upon this love, you can rise up, again and again.

. . . . . . .

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,  and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

John 11:25-26

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