Sunday, 2 April 2017

Rise from the dead

As we approach Easter and the resurrection we are confronted by are own mortality in the story of Lazarus (Jn 11).  The issue is that we are afraid of our own deaths and believe that immortality is achieved by holding death at bay for as long as we can.  The result is that we cling to what we believe is life bringing even if it only hastens our own deaths.  Indeed we parse death and flit over the topic as much as possible by using euphemisms, 'I am sorry for her passing' or 'I am sorry that you lost the one you loved.', all to avoid saying the dread word "death".  My mother replied to one such statement on my father's death "He died dear. I would be very foolish to have lost him."

In confronting our own fears we open the space up and allow God's healing Spirit in.  Instead of death we find life, instead of despair we find life.  The truthfulness of our lives confronts the seeds of destruction more than our denials ever will.  Life in God comes when we understand that we must die.  Our whole spiritual journey is about confronting death and bringing truth into our lives.  At the start of our journey we 'die' as we are baptised.  Death is there at the beginning but we are too young to understand which is why our parents and Godparents take that responsibility on for us.  We take that responsibility on board at confirmation.  Death is only a pre-cursor to life.  Next week we begin our week long journey to the cross beginning with Palm Sunday.  It is a passionate story that leads through every imaginable emotion but ends in the knowledge and understanding that God is present in every single moment of our lives even at the point of death.

Can we accept God's gift of life?

It is so often the case that we moan and complain about our lives more often than not to draw attention to ourselves.  It is our egos that are the problem and we allow them to get away with an enormous amount.  Unless we can truly understand how great God's love is for us we will be forever lost in the gray lands of death.  Ever seeking but only finding our own complaints.  Yes, we so often feel that we have been abandoned by God, like Mary and Martha, like Christ on the cross, but it is God who has carried us through our emotional upheaval to the other side where new life awaits.  In not realising this we squander God's gift.  Yet, there is more to this than just God's gift of life.  We have to accept it.  We have to receive it.  We have to collaborate with it.  Any parent can tell you that a child may not accept the offer of love that a parent brings but go their own way, only to be picked up of the floor at a later stage by the rejected love of the parent.

In our lostness we turn a blind eye to God's love feeling abandoned and neglected.  Yet, we need only accept the change that God brings and open our eyes to the working of the Spirit within our lives that we will begin to understand that we have never been abandoned.  We see with eyes of the lost not with eyes of the found.  We see with eyes of fear not with eyes of hope.  We see with eyes of abandonment not with eyes of love.  Last week I spoke of seeing with the eyes of God now we need to see with eyes that are turned outward not inward on our own depression.  Hope burgeons all around us if we only had eyes with which to see.  In place of grief see happiness, in place of loss see new life, in place of depression see hope.

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