Sometimes, it is hard to wake up! Had that experience before? One of the most popular modern conveniences we have is something we call the “snooze alarm”…love it or hate it, it is still modern necessity for most of us. Why a necessity? Because if the truth were known, no one really wants to wake up! You see, sleep is more than a physical state. "Sleep" can actually be a great metaphor for a mental state or, for many of us, the state of our lives! The phrase “sleep walking through life” just doesn’t apply to those who are actually sleeping anymore. It is actually a relatively “easy to define” state of being. In fact, there is actually a "SLEEPWALKING through Life diagnosis" being given by some psychologists and therapists…see if any of these symptoms apply to you:
1. Lack awareness of bigger picture – bigger world.
2. Not living in alignment with real purpose in life.
3. Auto pilot living – going through motions.
4. Engaging in non-value added activities – addictions to gaming, eating, TV – wasting time and life.
5. Passive or denial based approach to life.
6. Can’t find time to do the things you want to do.
7. Unconscious of thoughts/emotions.
8. Lack of ambition or motivation.
You see, you can live your entire life in an unconscious state, not aware of what’s really going on, living, as one author I read said, "a DRONE like or ROBOT life existence."
Here's something for you to chew on - Resurrection is the ULTIMATE wake up call! Resurrection is God’s way of saying, “WAKE UP!” Let me tell you why:
"...and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’ resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people." Matthew 27:52-53 (NLT)
Now for some of you, you might be thinking, “cool, the first references to Zombies in the bible." But let me assure you that it has NOTHING to do with Zombies. What it does have to do with is this – Jesus’ resurrection was MORE than just about Jesus! Here’s how this works itself out: Each of these words in these two verses have HUGE implications – I’m just going to take two:
- "kekoimEmenOn" – what is translated in many contemporary translations as “dead” is actually better translated, “laid down to rest or fallen asleep or asleep”
- "EgerthE" – what is translated “raised” as in, raised from the dead, is actually better translated “wake up or woken or woken up or ROUSED”
So actually it reads better like this - 52 The tombs also were opened, and many the saints who had fallen asleep were woken up. 53 And After his resurrection they came out of their “tombs” and entered the holy city and appeared to many. (NRSV)
OR, better yet, for MY purposes: "When Jesus rose the people who had fallen asleep were told, “wake up” and when they did, they came out of their “tombs”, come out of their state of sleep and started showing up in their world."
Here's the point - Resurrection is dangerous, friends…resurrection wakes people up!
Now, I must digress for a minute or two though in order to explain to you why Resurrection does what it does. You would think that we would GET resurrection! You see, the resurrection of Jesus was a turning point in history but it wasn’t something completely NEW from what God had been doing since the beginning of time. When people I’ve known over the years say that they can’t believe in a resurrected Jesus, I’ve told them, "what’s so weird about raising from the dead…resurrection is all around us all the time." God has and is always about bringing things to life. One of the reasons so many of us look forward to Spring is because it is the time of NEW LIFE. Dormant flower bulbs deep in the ground wake up and produce glorious flowers. Grass that has lied fallow for months now is begging to be cut. There are a 1000s upon 1000s of kinds of newness every single day. In fact, it is so common we forget just how powerful it is. Resurrection is reveals is every aspect of creation – yet for some reason, we are still surprised how leary people get when we talk about it. You see, Death seems to grab our attention and us more effectively than new life – I don’t necessarily know why that is but it just is! Death grabs our imaginations, fascinates us, emotes all sorts of feelings of fear and negativity in us. The truth is human beings have spent centuries trying to solve the problem of EVIL and death when it is MUCH MORE CONFOUNDING that as we do that we ignore what is truly astonishing and staring us right in the face – NEW LIFE!
The New Testament tells us that what happened on Good Friday with Jesus’ disciples and it is the same dynamic that happens to us - we all focus in on Jesus’ death (good thing in many respects don’t get me wrong) but when all we expect to see and have is a dead Jesus on a cross, when all we expect is a sleep walking Jesus who gives birth to sleep walking followers it is as if Jesus were still in the tomb and the stone is still there, then we've missed the point. In many respects we forget the ONE THING about Jesus that started the whole story – Jesus was the INCARNATED – made real in the flesh God. Jesus wasn’t just a human being or a great teacher, Jesus was God, the Savior of the World…the Alpha and Omega of history. For many of us sleepwalking through life we don’t get it! We don't get that JOY and EXCITEMENT and GROWTH should be a natural by-product of the "resurrection soaked life."
I hate to write this but many faith communities that I’ve seen and even been a part of where more dictated by the reality of death than NEW LIFE! Here’s what Jesus was about in Resurrection: Rohr writes, "Jesus didn’t come to change the mind of God about humanity and you and me…Jesus came to change the minds of humanity, you and me about God." You see, resurrection is God’s reality – Resurrection is God’s final word on what he plans to do with every life. Resurrection is God’s pledge and guarantee of what God will do with all of our crosses and with all of our suffering. Resurrection isn’t some sort of temporal optimism – it is not just a big picture about who Jesus is or proof that Christianity is true or even proof that there is life after death! The Resurrection of Jesus is MUCH BIGGER THAN THAT and much more pervasive. It shows us once and for all – wake up! Wake up to the fact that because of the Resurrection there are NO MORE only dark clouds in life – there are silver linings to all of the darkest hours we experience.
Rohr says, "Easter – the Resurrection shakes everything up – the Resurrected Jesus is the standing ICON of humanity in its final and full destiny." The resurrection is God’s final pledge of what he will do with all our crucifixions. The resurrection is God’s promise that NO hurt is immune from God’s transformational process – HE, God turns hurts into Hopes. HURTS INTO HOPES...think about that and meditate on that for a bit! It really is LIFE changing!
I learned two new words this week, "evasion and untethered." Both have to do with what happened when smart phones got “disconnected” from specific networks. In other words, for example with an Apple iPhone, you can now PICK a provider of service instead of having to buy a phone and be TETHERED to one specific cell service. The software/firmware to do that is called, “evasion.” So here’s how this correlates – the Resurrection is the ULTIMATE evasion firmware for your life and mine. Resurrection is the ultimate jailbreak from an operating system in the world that is tethered to death, sadness, and destruction. You see, God is untethered in the resurrection – as long as Jesus is in the tomb, that’s where we expect him to be…dead, or asleep – definitely not alive and messing around with our lives. But no, when we are most preoccupied with stability and control, when we are most satisfied with sleepwalking, boredom and even death, here comes the resurrected Jesus!
Here’s the bottom line – ONCE you know in your heart of hearts that there is NEW LIFE as promise of God for you:
You can live with faith! You can rest with purpose and a living hope! You can take the risk of loving all the time because even your mistakes and misfires are redeemable. If the crucifixion is God’s way of standing in solidarity with every bit of suffering, tragedy and disaster and death with the assurance that HE will have the final word, then the Resurrection is that FINAL WORD! SO that WE CAN LIVE IN HOPE. OUR HEARTS AND LIVES CAN WAKE UP TO THE GREAT HOPE FOR LIFE NOT JUST IN THE ETERNAL KINGDOM BUT LIVING IN AND FOR HIS KINGDOM RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW. No wonder that’s a wake up call! No wonder that the people in Jesus’ time who were asleep WOKE UP and started testifying to that type of love and power in their lives and in their world.
I’ve often wondered, what if we just didn't remember the resurrection but actually could find some way to RE-LIVE it? The concept of "remembering" in Hebrew means essentially that –relive or re-experience. What if the risen Jesus woke some of us up today? What would we do? What if, like the post resurrection appearances of Jesus – what if we were safely tucked away in our little church building expecting a dead Jesus only to have the LIVING JESUS walk right down this center aisle? I wonder – whom would He comfort, whom would He confront? Who would He heal? Who would He forgive? What tables would He overturn? And what would we do as a result? So, what about you?