Lenten Blog -- Day 32
Thursday, March 29, 2012
“I am the resurrection and the life.” (v.25)
I watched my grandfather die before me. He had been in a coma with no genuine chance of recovery and his life drained out of him after the machines were turned off. My family and I—along with our pastor—stood in silent weeping as we watched him die. It was as peaceful a scene as one might have it—albeit in a hospital room—but, he had lived a full life surrounded by his family. But it was also a terrible scene. No matter the surroundings and the process, death itself is always sad.
In some respects, ours is a society that is in a state of denial about death. Many patients like my grandfather are kept alive for long periods, perhaps not out of a hope of recovery, but out of a determination not to have a loved one perish. Regardless of the politics, it’s a reality that an enormous percentage of health care costs are incurred for the last leg of one’s race. We deny the statistic—the one that is one in one. However, it seems that it is our society to accept death as well. Beyond its delay and old age longevity, we know the statistic to be true and all we can do is to not go gentle into that sweet night; to rage, rage against the dying of the light. Poetry is how we bring meaning to our expiration. Death itself is reality.
It seems that the Scriptures—beyond the moralism that many ascribe to it—is really about life and death. The prohibition at the beginning of the story and its disregarding introduced death as a reality. Aside from rupturing the worship fabric through the forbidden tree, death was not the way it was supposed to be.
Jesus approaches a dead friend and says something that echoes back to the garden and echoes forward to the New Garden. “I am the resurrection and the life.” He rages against death—not a mere tear, but a guttural anger against a foe that has defeated all who came before him. And Jesus, calls the name of a dead man—who now lives. He will die again, of course, but what Jesus promises is that he—and we—shall never die again. Jesus beats the odds and the mortal foe meets the Creator. And a connection to him means a connection to his claim of resurrection and life.
I will deny death. I will deny that it will be triumphant. It will be robbed of its sneer. I will see Jesus. I will see Lazarus. I will see my grandfather.