Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Resurrection For Thee, But Not For Me

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"You wouldn't even have asked this question a year ago," she said.

And I think to myself,

Maybe that's what Resurrection is, for me.

There haven't been a lot of "revolutionary" moments in my life. I didn't have a dramatic conversion experience, no booming voices or bright lights. I don't generally do 180-degree turns. I'm more inclined toward wide, sweeping arcs that eventually get me headed in the right direction. Now don't get me wrong, there certainly has been change, but it has been evolutionary, a slow slog toward...something?

For the last few years I've been unsure what exactly that something was. We use words like salvation and resurrection, but most times I don't think we're really even sure of what those things mean. They're like placeholders for concepts that are too big and too scary for us to really wrap our brains around, abstractions that leave us grasping desperately for something concrete to really grab on to.

And now it's Eastertide, that time when we're supposed to be celebrating Resurrection while anticipating the Gift of Pentecost, but again, I'm left wondering what that word - Resurrection - even means, and how I can find some way to connect to it.

Because if I'm being honest, if Resurrection is the sort of thing that I've been taught my whole life, then it's not something I feel that I have a right to connect to at all.

When you have blood on your hands, it's hard to accept forgiveness.

It's hard to feel like you deserve closure or peace. Part of me, the biggest part in fact, feels like carrying around guilt for the innocent people whose lives came to an end based on your work is somehow the right thing to do, like I should be profoundly affected by these memories, like carrying them around with me somehow keeps that person that I was back then from coming back.

And I've heard all the rationalizations.

"You were just following orders."
"You thought it was the right thing to do."
"You were influenced by a broken, fallen system."

All of that is true, but none of that really matters.

I was that person who followed those orders, thought those things, and allowed that system to influence me without questioning it.

But what's more, I was that person who took joy in his job. I was that person who was filled with vengeful satisfaction as he watched the dealing of death without mercy play out in front of him. I was that person who delighted in hunting and killing human beings, and who was wholly unmoved by the death of innocents caught in the crossfire.

I did those things. I was that person. How could I possibly be worthy of this thing we call Resurrection?

Can things really be made new?

Those people will still be dead.
I will still be that person.

Yet all around, I see Resurrection. I see light and life breaking in and breaking out where only death and darkness existed before.

Around me. About me. Above and below, in front of and behind me.

But never in me.

I believe in the power of Resurrection, and I strive to see that power manifest in the people, the systems, and the culture I'm immersed in.

But never in me.

So there we were, leaning over the kitchen island in a precious moment of peace, talking about life and change and love.

I ask a question. It seems so simple, so fundamental to the way that a marriage should work and yet, it feels as if it is altogether something new.

"You wouldn't even have asked this question a year ago," she said.
And that most unfamiliar of feeling begins to creep into the margins of my Spirit:


And I think to myself,

Maybe that's what Resurrection is, for me.
I can't ever give those people their lives back, but maybe that's not what being made new means. Maybe it means that their deaths get turned into something meaningful as the Holy Spirit continues to work in and through me. Maybe it means that change might not happen in 3 days or 3 months or even 3 years, but maybe it's not supposed to or maybe it doesn't have to.


To be sure, there still isn't much for me to grab on to here, but whatever it is that I'm reaching for, or that's reaching out for me, I know that I can say something that I haven't been able to say in a long time:

I hope.  


  1. Oh, Luke - such good thinking and pondering here. Sometimes hope is just a filament, a brief spark to light the smallest space ahead. And you've been given one of those, I think. Yes, there is resurrection in you, friend. Yes, there is. And yes, there is always, always forgiveness and grace and transformation. I'll hang onto that hope with you.

    1. You are a treasure, Diana. When you say you'll hang on with me, I believe it. Thank you for your relentless encouragement. :)

  2. It is hard to form words to respond to this, Luke. What I have is silence, but please adjust the quality of this silence from unconscious to respectful. I pray this seed grows for you...and for the rest of us.

  3. "Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times [past, present, and future] and in every way. The Lord be with all of you." (2 Thessalonians 3:16, with my added interpretation in brackets)

    Love you Luke and I am so blessed by our friendship. I have seriously read this like 3 or 4 times now!


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