If I say the word “Resurrection” to Christians, the majority of them will be able to somehow relate to, or recognize, the word. It is not a strange word to us.
Resurrection. It is what happened one Sunday. We know the story.
“Yes, yes,” many say. “We know that Jesus rose from the dead and so we can be saved and believe that God has the ability to raise the dead.”
It’s a part of our story, of our history, of our beliefs, of our dogma. God can resurrect. Death cannot stop him.
Lazarus come forth.
No problemo. Easypeasy.
But I wonder sometimes whether or not we have completely missed the point..
Resurrection does not begin on Easter Sunday morning. FAR from it. Resurrection existed from the moment death existed. Read the first chapter of the first book about us. Out of nothing God speaks into existence.
Out of nothing
Not just darkness; dark nothingness.
And then God speaks light…..
And his interaction with human beings doesn’t differ from his Creation methods. There seems to be a pattern emerging in his dealings with us; the Artist has a general style. Read the stories! He spins life in barren wombs, fills empty jars with oil and sparks hope when the slaves have lost theirs for the past 400 years. He breaks the mold and leaves behind empty graves.
The God of the Bible seems to be all about the impossible, final sort of stories. And I can think of little more final than death.
You can fix problems, you can look for solutions, you can mend broken things, you can adopt positive thinking and change situations, but with death it’s different. You have nothing to work with. You can’t do anything with death! It has been robbed of all material, possibility or potential for creation or change. It is a vacuum. It is the full stop.
Done. Finito. Formless and void.
And then God’s spirit hovers over the waters… and he speaks.
The King of the Heaven calls for the encore. The seated audience rise again to a standing ovation. The childless woman becomes a mother, despair makes way for a fragile seed of hope in the mind of a slave, the broken marriage is rekindled, the hopeless sinner becomes a hopeful one, the overdraft doesn’t stand permanent, the dawn is promised.
“Let there be light!”
“Let my people go!”
“Do not fear!”
“You shall have a son!”
“Hang on because I am going to move.”
“Wait and see what I do next.”
He is all about breathing life into dead things; creating somethings out of nothings, raising that which fell for good.
Maybe it’s because you can’t blame that sort of creation on anything else but Him. You cannot find the trick of the Master Magician because the rabbit really wasn’t hiding under the table. This time it really appeared out of thin air. You can’t argue that it “fixed itself” or that there was another influence. There us not slight of hand, just the might of His hand.
And that is where Sunday morning comes in. It is not a proof for a Christian formula and it is more than the birth of a world-wide religion. Jesus left behind an empty tomb…. but not completely empty. He left a note.
He leaves behind a statement of his intentions. “This is what I’m all about. This is what I came to do. I’m not here anymore. Don’t look for me in dead tombs. Don’t watch for me in dead talk, religion or words emptied of life. Run to the empty grave and place your fingers in my open wounds.”
A pale, dead corpse, which was not only physically dead, but that had torn down hope with him, inhales a new breath. He gasps for all mankind.
In the silence of the morning his white cheeks turn pink, his eye-lids stir, his mind awakens…the first memory, the first thought.
The King of Heaven is not done.
He inhales. The encore. The comeback. The new hope. The twist in the story that nobody saw coming.
God did in his Son what he intends to do in us and for us; that was what salvation and the good news was all about. It was about restoring that which was broken and raising that which was doomed to death. The full stop is his comma. He is only pausing the draw breath before the real story begins…He came to breathe life into your life.
And in all of this hope of the finito becoming ignito, perhaps there is a whisper of a lesson for us too. Let us not condemn to hell, to the grave, or to the finish line that which we may see as dead. God may be just warming up. Sure, he may need to saw a few people in half, and even make some disappear for a while, but he can pull a silver coin from behind anyone’s ear.
He’s not done yet.
The paint isn’t dry.
Death is where God shines the most, because no-one but him can be blamed for such
a beautiful encore but Him.