As the Lenten season came to a close, we are left basking in the glow of a glorious Easter Sunday, but how quickly life moves on to the next big event and how shamefully forgetful we are as we begin to live lives seemingly unaffected by the truth and hope that we have just celebrated. It leaves us to ponder, what difference has all this made in our hearts? What truth can we take away to internalize every day as Easter people living in a Good Friday world? This last "I am" statement is the most central and yet the hardest for our hearts and minds to truly accept -- without Jesus we are and will forever be in bondage to death, but with Him, we are resurrected into life.
This seventh week of Lenten study, the topic is: "I am the Resurrection and the Life"
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live" -- John 11:25
When Katherine was in ICU for 40 days, very few living things were allowed to be in her room--we even had to kind of sneak in James. Flowers have always been in our home, whether from the grocery store or cut from outside, but in the ICU--a place most in need of life--no living plants or flowers were allowed. It felt painfully ironic that even funerals are covered with these symbols of life, and yet the lack of them in ICU only seemed to add to the sense of death in that place. A sweet Sunday school class of kids from our church made Katherine a tissue paper bouquet that brightened up a corner of the room, but even that left something lacking.
Jesus got word that his friend Lazarus was very sick. He said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it." His disciples and Mary and Martha all knew that in death their souls would be resurrected to be with the Lord, but Jesus wanted them to understand how He would embody that resurrection in a way that they had never before experienced. Resurrection from death could now take place before physical death. Abundant life was not just reserved for heaven.
As Katherine progressed and moved out of the ICU, her rooms soon became veritable gardens, full of color and smells and beauty, symbols of life springing forth out of places where so much death could be found. After the resurrection, flowers as funeral decoration became the norm to represent the hope of new life after death, but as many a sage older woman has said, "You can give me my flowers while I'm still living!" Likewise, in Christ we have the hope of life eternal, but we don't have to wait to experience that life until we physically die. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not about saving the lost or getting to go to heaven, but it is about giving life to things that are dead and giving it to them now.