Tag Archive: resurrection


ah man, this Lent schedule is a kicker… may have not gotten to make a post yesterday, but not going to beat up myself about it. let’s just make the most of the ones i do manage to post? good!

DAY 20ish

I was inspired for today’s post by a picture my friend Lilly Lewin [@lillylewin] shared on The Twitterer:

Lilli

Task: Write some words. Or maybe draw a picture. But just get something down.

Whether you give yourself five minutes for this or a whole hour, carve out a space in your busy day to reflect on some aspect of God and maybe more specifically Easter or resurrection, new beginnings, and whether you preferred choice is a poem or a song, whether you are someone who doodles, draws or paints or simply writes it in letter or story form, take some time to compose as an act of worship.

I have a long train ride happening later tonight as I return from a friend’s funeral that is two hours away and will look to use some of that time to do this [and will hopefully be able to post something tomorrow] and if you are up to sharing what you come up with, I would love to see it.

[For the next Lent Observance piece where you get to see what i created, click here]

pastrix I“Jesus didn’t look very impressive at Easter,” I said, “not in the churchy sense, and certainly not if Mary Magdalene mistook him for a gardener.” [Nadia Bolz-Weber, ‘Pastrix – the cranky, beautiful faith of a sinner turned saint’]

i am busy reading ‘Pastrix’ by Nadia Bolz-Weber, unlikely, heavily-tattooed Lutheran pastor and while i don’t necessarily agree with everything she says, for the most part it has been a challenging and refreshing read and the bits i don’t necessarily agree with are for the most part areas of following Jesus’ness that i continue to wrestle with and try to figure out – this is a book worth reading.

and this extract from her chapter titled ‘Dirty fingernails’ will hopefully give you some idea as to why:

‘As I looked out over the shivering crowd, I suggested that perhaps Mary Magdalene thought the resurrected Christ was a gardener because Jesus still had the dirt from His own tomb under His nails. Of course, the depictions in churches of the risen Christ never show dirt under His nails; they make Him look more like a wingless angel than a gardener. It’s as if He needed to be cleaned up for Easter visitors so He looked more impressive and so no one would be offended by the truth. But then what we all end up with is a perverted idea of what resurrection looks like. My experience, however, is that the God of Easter is a God with dirt under His nails.

Resurrection never feels like being made clean and nice and pious like in those Easter pictures. I would have never agreed to work for God if I had believed God was interested in trying to make me nice or even good. Instead, what I subconsciously knew, even back then, was that God was never about making me spiffy; God was about making me new.

New doesn’t always look perfect. Like the Easter story itself, new is often messy. New looks like recovering alcoholics. New looks like reconciliation between family members who don’t actually deserve it. New looks like every time I manage to admit I was wrong and every time I manage to not mention I was right. New looks like every fresh start and every act of forgiveness and every moment of letting go of what we thought we couldn’t live without and then somehow living without it anyways. New is the thing we never saw coming – never even hoped for – but ends up being what we needed all along.

“It happens to all of us,” I concluded that Easter Sunday morning. “God simply keeps reaching down into the dirt of humanity and resurrecting us from the graves we dig for ourselves through our violence, our lies, our selfishness, our arrogance, and our addictions. And God keeps loving us back to life over and over.”‘

[and then she finishes off this chapter with this piece]

‘There are times when I hear my name, turn, and recognise Jesus. There are times when faith feels like a friendship with God. But there are many other times when it feels more adversarial or even vacant. Yet none of that matters in the end. How we feel about Jesus or how close we feel to God is meaningless next to how God acts upon us. How God indeed enters into our messy lives and loves us through them, whether we want God’s help or not. And how, even after we’ve experienced some sort of resurrection, it’s never perfect or impressive like an Easter bonnet, because, like Jesus, resurrected bodies are always in rough shape.’

pastrix II

one of my favourite freaky stories in the bible [and there’s lots of them – 2 kings 2.23 story of elisha and the baldyhead bear-mauling incident] is the story of elijah found in 1 kings 17.

now a bunch of things happen here – there is elijah being fed miraculously by ravens, there is the miracle of the flour and oil of the widow not running out and then the widow’s son mysteriously dies.

it is one of those crisis of faith moment stories many of us have experienced – having just witnessed this crazy miracle of the continuing food supply, the widow is now accusing the prophet [and God by association] of having it in for her.

what comes next is incredibly dangerous and as with so many bible stories, we have lost the edge of the danger because we know how it ends – shadrach, meshach and abednego risking being tossed in the fiery furnace, daniel risking the lion’s den, david heading out to take on the giant goliath armed with a slingshot, gideon with his muchly reduced army taking on an army whose tents were described as ‘swarms of locusts’ [judges 6.5] armed with torches and musical instruments and peter stepping out of the boat on to the water…

we know how they end so we read them and get excited by God and what He has done, but i think it is important to go back and read this stories as the person really desperately hoping that God is going to make a dramatic appearance…

so you have this widow and her dead son and elijah is taken to the room with the dead son and in 1 kings 17.21 it says this, ‘Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him.”

why is that a cool story? because it worked. God heard elijah’s prayer and resurrects the boy and he lives again. yay God, well done elijah.

but what if he hadn’t? if God didn’t pitch up then you have a grown man, climbing on to and lying on top of the body of a dead boy… now i’m not sure we can tell from the story if he did that twice with no results and then the third time God answered because that would add in a whole other dimension, but from elijah’s point of view it has to be coming from a point of ‘i really believe this is what God wants me to do and i am going to risk reputation and possibly life to be faith-full and obedient to what i have heard God say.’

“yeah, but it’s elijah”

the same elijah who goes on to witness another robe-wetting moment on top of mount carmel where if God doesn’t show up with the sacrifice then he will lose reputation and life for sure… but also the same elijah who shortly after that incident runs away because a woman threatens him and ends up moping to God that he is the only one left [when God secretly has thousands of other faithful followers stashed away in a cave] and so clearly there were times when ‘but it’s elijah’ was not good enough to guarantee success and bravery in the face of consequences.

there are so many others like this – noah builds a giant boat in the desert, Jesus spits into a blind man’s eye, peter and john tell a crippled man to get up and walk… so many miracle stories that only took place because someone was faithful and obedient to what they heard God calling them to do… if you have known me long enuff then you will have probly heard the story of the safe house for kids in cape town that was birthed out of a worship meeting [http://www.uthandolenkosi.co.za] – a lot of people called them crazy, even some pastors took action to try and protect them from the foolish thing they were going to do… and yet because God said it, and because people responded faithfully it happened.

i think it is important to finish off by saying that the point is not to go out and do stupid things… if you go to the local swimming pool and step out on the water you will sink. why? because God did not invite you to. the key here is listening out for what God is saying to you and acting on it regardless of whether it makes sense or not to those around you. [altho seeking good counsel from strong Jesus-following people around you to make sure it is God’s thing He is calling you to and not just a hare-brained scheme is worth doing]

but if God does call you to lie on top of a dead kid and call out to Him three times, and you’re sure it’s God speaking, then you had better act on that and you will only know whether God is going to show up or not the moment it is too late if He doesn’t…

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