Tumbling in the Sand
The texts for Sunday, November 10, 2013 (Lectionary 32): Job 19:23–27a; Psalm 17:1–9; 2 Thessalonians 2:1–5, 13–17; and Luke 20:27–38.
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God” – Job 19: 25-26
This is a text that I often read at the graveside. The other text that I really like to read is from 1 Corinthians 15, which begins “Listen, I tell you a mystery! We will not all die but we will all be raised …”
Both of these passages read at the grave sound remarkably defiant. I mean, really? To declare that death doesn’t have the final word in the unsettling silence of a graveyard? Uh huh, sure. Everything around you sort of suggests the opposite. Each gravestone—growing moss and becoming worn from the elements—stands as testimony to the seeming final word of death.
And yet, I have the audacity to ask, at the grave: “Death, where is your victory?” and find the impudence to proclaim “after my skin has thus been destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God.”
Really, those are fighting words.
And that is what I love the most about a spirituality and faith that is centered on the resurrection of the dead.
You see, we could argue about the details of the resurrection or whether or not you even have to believe in such a thing to be Christian. We could find ourselves in arguments like the Sadducees with Jesus about legal minutia that make no sense. We could argue about physical resurrection or spiritual resurrection (and I certainly have an opinion). We could even argue about stuff like what age we’ll be raised at or if we’ll need teeth (yes, these are real arguments that have happened in the life of Christians). But, I think that all of that is missing the point.
I think the point of the resurrection is this:
We have too long believed in the absolute power of death.
We have too long wielded the destruction of life as the ultimate sign of authority.
We have too long found life to be meaningless and empty under the shadow of the grave.
Resurrection is the insurrection.
We will rise in defiance of this supposed power.
We will rise to the cause of a new kind of authority—that of life.
We will rise in faith and hope that justice and peace will prevail.
We will rise because life—God’s new abundant, amazing life—is more powerful than death.
And we rise.
Featured Image: “Lithuania, cross hill nearby Siauliai town” by Mindaugas Makutėnas. Check out his amazing Flickr photo stream here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/trupiniai/ The Cross Hill in Lithuania is a powerful symbol of defiance. Read more about it here: The Hill of Crosses