“God does not show favoritism.”
“Set your hearts on things above…set your minds on things above.”
“They still didn’t understand from the scriptures that Jesus had to rise from the dead.”
For forty days, we experience the longing, the depression, and the soul wrenching agony of Jesus’ last days on earth. We turn our lives over to intentionally focus on suffering, injustice, and death. Just when it seems like we can’t stand it anymore, there is this amazing event and our lives are turned upside down. The whole system is turned over. Death no longer rules, and life is no longer the same. Jesus defeats death, rises from his tomb, and shows himself to those he loves. For forty long, dark days, I have walked head down, contemplative, and today, the darkness falls from my eyes and I am blinded with His marvelous light. I raise my head up and feel it shining on my face. I see nothing but amazing truth. There is this sense of scandalous grace, revolutionary faith, and an ordinary radicalism. My life has been spared. I am not dead. He is not dead. And together, we live a new life in a new world with new rules. His body was broken, his blood was shed, and my faith was sealed.
Today in worship, for the first time in a long time, I could actually feel the presence of God. As I sang, I wept. I wept for the last forty days of pain and suffering, I wept for a lifetime of hurts, and I wept for the death of an innocent man. I wept for the joy of Easter, I wept for a new lifetime of reconciliation and healing, and I wept for that same man’s resurrection. My soul was moved within me and my spirit leapt for joy. I wept because, even though I know that my spiritual life’s health does not hinge on feelings, it was nice to sense the presence of God in a church. Instead of trying to escape church to feel God, I can go again to church to find [Them].
I also felt this strange sense of longing. Perhaps I wanted to bring everyone I know into this presence. I wanted them to feel this odd compilation of dread and hope. As the dread was ushered away by the brightness of newfound hope, I wanted my friends, my family, and my acquaintances to be able to feel it as well. I wanted them to feel the sting of the cross and the healing of restoration. I needed them to be in the presence, too.
My other reservation probably comes from something that Lumby Dave alluded to in the sermon today. I don’t want to go back to fishing. I don’t want this to be a trip back from summer camp. I don’t want this to be a high felt at a concert. I want it to be my life. I want to live with Jesus pouring out of me. I don’t want to read this next year, and have to say to myself: Yep, you really should cast your nets on the other side of the boat, because you are still coming up with nothing. I don’t want to look back and see that for a whole year I have tried to fish with no success, only for Jesus to say to me: Hey, ummm, you might try the other side of the boat. I want to already be fishing of the right side of the boat. I want to be tight enough with Jesus to know which side to cast on. I just want to work with Jesus. I want Christ to be my life. I want to make a difference. I want to be the difference.