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Friday, April 11, 2014

What it's like to come back to life

To download a copy of my sermon, click here.

So through a combination of vacation and inept internet providers, it has a been a while since my last blog.  But I am back online, so here it goes!

I hope you are enjoying spring as much as I am.  I suffer from depression, SAD, GAD and other things that makes this last push towards spring pretty tough at times.  Over the years, I have developed some pretty solid coping mechanisms around it, but nonetheless, when it gets sunny and I can finally open my windows again, I feel like my soul can begin breathing again...if that makes any sense.

This past weekend we heard the story of Lazarus (Matthew 11:1-45), surely one of the most poignant and vivid episodes in the Bible.

We all know the story, and it is pretty clear that we are meant to take this story literally: Lazarus literally was dead, and Jesus literally resurrected him...for real.  As with all Biblical miracles, you either take them literally or you don't.  I leave that decision to your own discretion.

Regardless, I hasten to make the point which I think can be made about most if not all Biblical miracles: they don't end there.  They are not just events which took place in time and space (or did not take place, depending on your disposition), but they are timeless stories which tell us about ourselves, which describe steps along our spiritual journeys.

Take Lazarus, for example.  I have never literally died.  I know people who have been clinically dead for a number of seconds or minutes, but I am not personally one of them, so I cannot relate to Lazarus entirely.

But having been through depression, I can relate to feeling spiritually dead.  I can relate to feeling like I was trapped in the cold darkness of a tomb.  I can also relate to feeling that bit by bit I was coming back to life, until finally I cast of my funeral wrappings and stumbled out of the tomb to feel the sun on my face again.

I only hope I didn't smell as bad as Lazarus apparently did.

Maybe you have been through dark times (duh, who hasn't?).  Maybe you have recovered from mental or physical illness; maybe you have come through depression, addiction; maybe you have lost a loved one, felt that you would never be able to enjoy life again, and have made peace.

Can you relate to coming back to life?

Another interesting point, as spring is this slow coming back to life: when Lazarus was resurrected, do you think he ever stopped being amazed with life?  Do you think he ever took his senses for granted, having been deprived of all of them?  Do you think he ever again took for granted the ability to walk, to talk, to live?

I like to think not.  Maybe we can stop this spring and renew our gratitude for the new life growing back into the earth and in our own lives.

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