April

Jesus and Resurrection: Am I willing to live?

Resurrection is the centre of the Christian life! Just as for the Jewish people the Exodus is centre, for Christians it’s the cross and particularly the empty cross!
The key to resurrection is that Jesus was not afraid to let go. He didn’t want to! He sweated blood at the thought of what he would have to go through: Take this cup from me, I don’t want to go through this, I don’t want to lose my life, I don’t want to let go of every thing that I know and love. Life as we know it is precious, but Jesus realised that losing it was necessary for resurrection.
Perhaps there are there levels of doing this, willingly or unwillingly: Firstly what I call level one laying down. It’s normally a relatively easy thing to do, even a desirable thing to do. Maybe making a decision about what food you may or may not eat: giving up fatty foods to reduce cholesterol, sugar because of diabetes or spending on luxuries to establish a savings account. Letting go of one thing to experience new life, eg improved health.
On a spiritual level it means making a choice to follow Jesus. To “give your life to Jesus”, often the start of the Christian walk, for many the most important part of the journey, that moment when you wrote the date in the front of Gideon’s bible, that moment when you said the sinners’ prayer. It was the start of a whole new way of life and hopefully something which has lasted for a significant time period but also something which you continue to wrestle with in terms of what is right and what is wrong. Level one is about giving up the little things again and again to be a better follower of Jesus
The second level of laying down our lives is one that usually comes after we’ve been on a spiritual journey for some time as we experience life and grow in faith. As we grow older and experience life more, think about our faith more, the questions become more difficult! The doctrine we’ve learnt by rote may not make sense in the light of our life experiences, God who seemed so present years earlier, now seems absent, the harsh reality of a world of need and inequality may speak louder than the voice of a loving God.
Our faith doesn’t make sense so we find ourselves having to lay down our lives again! To lay down all the doctrine, all the theology we’ve learnt since giving our lives to Jesus - to allow god to die, so that God can live! Perhaps like a snake shedding a skin which it has outgrown we discover that if we are willing to put our old faith to death, there is new life!
Finally the third level of laying down our lives depending on your life experience it may come before or concurrent to the second. The other two levels are very much theoretical, changes in the way we live and the way think, but the third is far more real. This is when we’re forced by life circumstances usually to go through a time of significant loss: a loved one, income, health, and it really does feel as though we’re losing our life: Everything we’ve had, everything we’ve built up is taken from us, we lose hope, and resurrection seems. a very, very long way away indeed.
But there comes a time when you have no option but to lie on the ground crying out to God, sweating blood, until you get to the conclusion, not my will but yours be done. It really is, now, about giving up our lives completely, but knowing that as we do that resurrection is near!