I am grateful to the Rev. Rob Fuquay, author of “The God We Can Know, Exploring the ‘I am’ Sayings of Jesus” for looking at the distinction between resuscitation and resurrection in our prayers. He offers this comparison: While Lazarus was resuscitated, Jesus was resurrected. Lazarus gained his life back only to die later; Jesus was given a whole new life.
So often when we’re praying, we want our lives or circumstances or the people in them to be resuscitated. We want to go back to the way things were, when they were whole and good, at least according to the way we think about the past. It’s not just that we don’t like change, we really don’t want anything to change. So we’re asking that our lives, our children, our challenges be laid low so that we can get back what we lost. We’re the Israelites in the wilderness, always dreaming about going back to Egypt where things were so much better than they are now. At least there was plenty to eat and it wasn’t manna. At the least there was water for us humans and for our animals. At least….. yadda, yadda, yadda.
And it wasn’t just for the first forty days that they asked why they couldn’t go back. It was for the bulk of the next forty years a whole generation that was complaining, they were on the lookout for a leader who would take them back to Egypt. They rebelled at everything even though God was meeting all their needs in the wilderness. THEY WANTED THEIR LIVES TO BE RESUSCITATED! BACK TO THE WAY THEY USED TO BE!
It’s in the New Testament that Paul speaks God’s answer to the resuscitation prayers: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”[2 Corinthians 5:17]
New things have come, because God knows better than we do what needs to happen in our lives. To resuscitate the old would never occur to God who is all about bringing us to a new consciousness, a new heart, a new mind in Christ. To cling to the old means that we are living in the past, that the things of this world are more important to us than the kingdom, that we are unwilling to change or at the least to go along with what God envisions for us: that our selves as he created us to be would be fulfilled.
Now only God knows that blueprint for our souls, the way our particular combination of gifts and talents and challenges are supposed to come together to create a new man or woman who can love, who can live in the kingdom and bring positive attention in the world to what God has proposed for us human beings.
Resurrection is a horse of a different color, definitely not resuscitation: it is the body, soul, mind and heart of the person given a whole new life in the Spirit. Like the disciples who became apostles that Pentecost Day two millennia ago, we are resurrected into an inspirited being who can bring Christ’s consciousness and love into the world. The Holy Spirit takes up residence within us and from then on, we are the new creation, the ones who can love and demonstrate how living in the kingdom, having that kind of deep relationship with God, is the best offer in all of creation. The Holy Spirit becomes the dominant authority in our lives and the world’s view of everything gradually fades away.
For the disciples, now apostles, it meant that they could be understood by anyone without speaking their language, they could heal, they could teach as Jesus taught, all because of the Indwelling Spirit.
And that’s what God wants for us: that we fulfill our purpose, that we realize all that our creation implied, that we be so imbued with God’s Spirit that we bring the kingdom with us wherever we go to whomever we meet.
So don’t settle for resuscitation; go all the way with the Lord to resurrection! Invite the Spirit of God into every nook and cranny in your whole self to heal your troubled soul. Follow wherever he leads no matter what he puts in your path. Embrace your life as it is; be grateful for everything he blesses you with; take every challenge as containing a new lesson to be learned. That’s the way into the kingdom. Don’t settle for less!
Questions to ponder over the week: Am I praying for resuscitation or resurrection? Am I willing to go all the way with the Lord? What is standing in my way? Fear? Anger? Anxiety?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of resurrection. May we follow where the Lord would lead us. May we lift up to God all that stands in our way.
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–Check out my twitter feed at twitter.com/BTWwithPatAdams
–Check out the “Shop Now” at the top of this page which links to a CD of guided meditations and a series of booklets on the Life of the Spirit.
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