Thursday, April 19, 2012

Really Unreal Reality

Getting the sanctuary ready for a funeral this week, I noticed the Easter banners up. For a second I wondered if the family would care about celebratory banners being part of the funeral. It was just a second. Then I realized that banners proclaiming resurrection and victory were the most appropriate decorations for a Christian funeral.

That got me to thinking about how well we, as God's people, have embraced and internalized the real victory of the cross. Do we believe death had been defeated? What about hunger, pain, or greed? Do we believe that those battles have already been won? Our actions often betray our lack of faith.

We too often mistake the very real remnants of sin for some force with actual power - and not as the last vestiges of a dying structure.

I used to pride myself on being a realist - to dispassionately analyze a situation and come up with the most likely path for success. I've given up on realism thanks to resurrection. I'm unabashedly optimistic now. Perhaps you can say I'm still a realist, but with a different perspective on reality?

I might have to recognize the fallen, broken, messed up reality of our current age, but that doesn't keep me from holding myself, and the rest of God's good creation, to a higher standard.

I know human beings make terrible choices; I don't expect any of us to act rightly or properly or even morally most of the time. I broadly admit that the failures and faults of the world will likely remain, if not worsen, over time. I'm not denying the real suckiness of our present.

However, I also believe in a good creation, one endowed by its creator with an ever-present grace - calling and pushing and, at times, dragging us towards our intended selves. Resurrection means that death doesn't - that selfishness and convenience and efficiency, while immediately effective, are ultimately fruitless.

Resurrection means that while individual freedom likely means an open door to depravity and destruction, it's not the only answer. The powerful good we were created to be is possible - and not in some far off magical world with clouds and harps and fairies - but in the world God created for good.

What seems is not what is... and that is the power of the resurrection.

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