Sunday, April 11, 2010
THE 15 "IFs"
If you never felt pain, Then how would you know that I am a Healer?
If you never had to pray, How would you know that I am a Deliverer?
If you never had a trial, How could you call yourself an overcomer?
If you never felt sadness, How would you know that I am a Comforter?
If you never made a mistake, How would you know that I am a forgiver?
If you knew all, How would you know that I will answer your questions?
If you never were in trouble, How would you know that I will come to
If you never were broken, Then how would you know that I can make you
If you never had a problem,How would you know that I can solve them?
If you never had any suffering, Then how would you know what I went
If you never went through the fire, Then how would you become pure?
If I gave you all things, How would you appreciate them?
If I never corrected you, How would you know that I love you?
If you had all power, Then how would you learn to depend on me?
If your life was perfect, Then what would you need me for?
Sunday, April 4, 2010
An Easter Communion Meditation
By Burt L. Burleson
A thud is a final sounding sound,” isn’t it. That heavy sound the earth makes when something too heavy for topsoil comes down hard? You know the sound… don’t you? It’s what you’d hear if you were out on a spring day building a new flowerbed with heavy, solid, old railroad ties… If you and some army lifted one up on its end and then pushed it over… you’d hear it. “Thud” the sound of weight meeting dirt and dirt
It’s that noise you hear in Jurassic Park when T Rex takes a step… It’s the sound a huge pecan limb makes when it’s cut and falls from 15 feet up. It’s more than a “thud.”
It’s the sound you hear when Roman soldiers count to three in Latin, heave and strain, and, with some leverage, roll a big stone over a tomb’s entrance. It’s as final a sound that ever meets an ear. If you were standing there to hear, you’d say, “Oh… well that’s that.”
On that original Good Friday that’s the way the day ended for Mary and a few
others. They were standing at some distance but that “thud” made it’s way to their ears
and they heard it and they felt the weight of it in their hearts and they said, “That’s it…
that’s the end.” “Thud” … it’s the word we use when weight meets the earth and the earth gives
way some. You know the sound… it’s fallen on your ears and it’s fallen in your life.
Something gives way. It falls. It’s final. There is no moving this thing that comes to rest so solidly in your life and you know it. At least once you’re honest you know it.
A loss falls into your life, some unwanted change lands.
She says “I’m leaving” … “thud.”
The doctor says “it’s cancer” … “thud.”
The boss says, “it’s not working out” … “thud.”
Doubt lands with force on your faith.
Questions fall upon once firmly held answers… “thud.”
You realize some limit. You’ve tried hard but you can’t fix what this is… not strong enough… smart enough… talented enough… way too human for what has landed in your life… “thud.”
Something beyond you has been rolled across your dreams. A huge stone blocks
you from what was life for you and to you. And you say, “Well, that’s that.” Whatever
it is that makes that kind of “thud” in your life is beyond removing. Like woman making
their way to a tomb to grieve you’re thinking, “There’s no moving this.”
In Mark’s gospel, the women who woke that first Easter and went to anoint Jesus’ body, asked what we all ask at some point, “Who will roll this stone away?” You have to get there… we all do… to that place where we are honest with ourselves and we finally say, “I can’t… is there anyone who can?” “Thud” is the sound made at sundown on Friday. At sunrise, come Sunday, there is another sound. It’s a raucous, rolling noise, a quaking Matthew wrote. Easter’s sound is so far beyond heavy rock falling upon garden soil… that’s nothing. Easter’s sound is the sound the universe makes when two things are occupying the same space and something has to give. And something did. The world made an adjustment. Two things were in opposition and the universe wasn’t big enough for the both of them. Sin and righteousness… brokenness and wholeness. There was a strain beneath the surface. Despair against meaning. Hate and love rubbing each other the wrong way. And humanity was due a grand correction.
The question lingered in the morning air as it has lingered through history and
through your life. “Who will roll this away?” And God said, “I will.” And down in the center of all reality… where all things begin and end… In that realm of Alpha and Omega where all things hold together and dissonance resolves… that’s where this quake begin.
A prayer for help, “How can this be moved?” reach God’s heart… those prayers always do. And there was a divine response… an adjustment from that world. It happened in that vertical reality, which is the real reality show… all this is shadow land in comparison. That real, that vertical… shook and the ground heaved… and the stone rolled back and the garden path, it contagioned… and the trees, they danced… and the woman walking to the tomb bounced. A hole was ripped in this horizontal realm and an angel slipped through… plopped down on top of that so called immoveable stone and dusting off glowing hands, chuckled at the absurdity of Life in a tomb.
And then this messenger gave them the good news. “He isn’t here. He is risen.” And there was an invitation, “Come and see.” And a commission, “Go tell…” and they left, Matthew says, “afraid yet filled with joy.”
And I say to you this Easter morning… what a perfect response. What a perfect way to live. Having seen the power of God and discovered the depth of life… to make a new journey … filled with a sense of awe and joy. This holy fear the women were filled with… it’s what a body does and what a
soul does when it finally sees the immensity of things. If the world is seen to be amazing and sacred… If the Source of all Being slips through and moves the stone in your lifetrembling is right on.
What else can you feel when you finally see how small your world is in the grand scheme of things and how beautiful Life is. What else is a body to feel. It’s an awe that leaves you speechless. Or at best mouthing the words, “O… my… God.”
That’s they way they leave the tomb… filled with awe… AND… filled with joy. What else is a sould to feel when it sees how big and beautiful the world is. Awe and joy… that’s God for you… A feeling that leaves you silent but wanting to dance all at the same time. It’s not cowering but flying that God is after… It’s all that Easter can lead to.
There is good news for you today. Just like there was for those ladies that wonderful morning. You… you are not to be defined by the stones in your life that go “thud.” That is never the last sound your ears will hear. Your life is not determined by what seems so firmly fixed. There is a greater reality…
There is One who hears your prayers about the immoveable. Easter is the final result and revelation… in this world and in your life. God moved the stone. Let this good news send you on a new journey… one filled with reverent joy. That’s your destiny… it’s our identity as God’s people. Take that in today… to the deepest part of who you are. Internalize this good news made known in Christ and remembered… put back together… re-membered in this meal we share.
It is the Eucharist… which is a word that is all about reverent joy. We give thanks by partaking in this meal. We express our faith by partaking in this meal. We take in the good news… deep into our heart… by partaking in this mea. We remember. We believe.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection. He who believes in me will never die.” There is finally no thud that can separate you from the love of God in Christ. Jesus said, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
This is the body of Christ, broken that you might be whole. This is the cup of our salvation… poured out that the world might live. Take all of it and be filled.