by Rev. Jeff Gannon, Senior Pastor
Post Easter Sunday blog….
As I shared on Sunday, the Lazarus text reminds me that this sacred story is not really about Lazarus. It is about Mary and Martha and anyone who has to live with the reality of death.
And death comes in so many forms….
- Physical death in natural or violent ways
- Emotional death as a result of self-destructive behavior
- Spiritual death as a remind of sin – Greek word “hamartia” – missing the mark
- Relational death because of narcissism and egocentrism
I recently attended a seminar sponsored by Via Christi on human trafficking in Wichita. One of my good friends, Sr. Marie Veronica, invited me. The challenge is Wichita has become a “hub,” for trafficking. The positive news is that 7 girls have been “rescued” from a lifestyle that ultimately results in every form of death imaginable.
God is in the business of resurrection! God is extremely active in rescuing persons from the pit of hell in which we find ourselves.
But, in order for God to resurrect the dead – literally or figuratively – something or someone must be really dead. I mentioned in my sermon it took Jesus four days to get to the home of Mary and Martha after he was informed about Lazarus’ death. There is always a method to Jesus’ gladness. He showed up four days later because if he would have arrived earlier than the people of Jesus’ day would have said Lazarus wasn’t really dead. In antiquity, the dead had to be dead for three full days before the declaration was made of their death.
My point is, my sisters and brothers, we live in a culture that wants the privilege of resurrection without the responsibility. The name for that is resuscitation. We like to resuscitate because we avoid death. We avoid change. We avoid taking responsibility because we want things to return to the way they used to be. But, resurrection, the miracle of new possibilities, doesn’t occur without death. Easter occurs not in spite of death but because of it! Christian faith offers hope because it faces death squarely and moves through it, not around it! It means that death, pain, disappointment and heartache are not final realities. When we accept the things we cannot change and remain open to God’s power to do new things, we discover what resurrection is.
Resuscitation means bring back to life – returning life to the way it was.
Resurrection means a whole new life – a different life, a transformed life.
Personally, for each of us to experience resurrection, we must die. Sunday’s sermon talked about the physical dimension of that. But, may I invite us to consider where we need to die relationally, spiritually, and emotionally?
Death forever changes things. But, death cannot give a future. Death cannot create. Death cannot do a new thing. Only Jesus can take death and bring forth resurrection. Anyone less than Jesus only brings resuscitation and nothing ever really changes.