“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” Jesus
As I write on this day after Easter, I am mindful of the costly nature of God’s love and the lengths God went to in order to redeem a lost world and broken humans like you and me. What an amazing grace!
I suspect the cost to Jesus was even greater than we sometimes imagine. Beyond the agony of death, I wonder if the sheer grief of seeing human suffering—especially suffering caused by human evil—was overwhelming, disappointing and deeply frustrating.
What I rejoice in today is that Christ did not despair and give up. He followed through on His mission among us despite the great cost. And in the end, His work not only transformed individual lives like yours and mine…but His work continues to restore and reconcile all of creation to God.
I am grateful, as well, that Jesus’ work was and is sufficient. It is powerful and able to cause real transformation in people and able to provide deep healing for all the brokenness we experience. In that regard, I rejoice that Jesus was willing to do all that was necessary rather than opt for a more familiar human response and simply put a band-aid on a gaping wound.
I’ve been thinking a good bit about band-aids lately. They have their place and function. For a small cut, a band-aid serves a useful purpose. When I have a sliver or hang-nail, sometimes I’ll slap a band-aid over it until I can deal with it at a more convenient time.
A band-aid on a broken arm, however, does nothing. Neither will a band-aid be sufficient to heal a severed limb or cancerous growth. A band-aid is of no help in the case of a broken heart.
Sometimes, I fear our methods for healing brokenness in the church, or as we minister in the world, are like a misapplied band-aid. We speak words of “peace, peace” or easy comfort into situations that are really crying out for a prophetic word. It is tempting to apply a band-aid when relationships get out of whack, like when a marriage is crumbling or a church body is divided. In my experience, I can say it is a whole lot easier to simply tell everyone to “just get along” rather than invest the kind of time and energy needed if real reconciliation is to occur.
More and more, I am skeptical about band-aids. We need people, we need NWYM boards, we need ministry teams, and we need churches that have more of the Jesus-approach to ministry. These are the people who realize that it is only in and through sacrificial self-giving that a real fruit will come to bear.
As Easter people, committed to continuing Jesus’ ministry, I hope we are ready to invest our best energies in the healing of lives and the restoration of the world. As Friends churches scattered around the region, is it our common aim to proclaim and demonstrate the Good News that He is Risen and Lord of all? As NWYM, are we about the work of the Master—giving ourselves away for the sake of a broken world?
This Easter nearly coincided with the five-year “anniversary” (that seems like much too celebratory a word) for this round of the Iraq war. I remember when the war began the president said something about building an international coalition to destroy evil. Along with having huge objections to the methodology that he had in mind for waging such a battle, I am also not convinced that either a human perspective or human response to “evil” will ever be effective.
What I do know, however, is that in Christ we have been made part of an international coalition whose aim is to overcome every bit of darkness with the Light and Love of Jesus. Through our example and words, we call others to a vision of godliness and obedience to the reign and rule of Christ. Not relying on guns, bombs, or coercion, we operate in the power of God and use spiritual weapons to vanquish all that stands in opposition to Christ. Through the same self-giving love modeled for us in Jesus, we are now invited to lay down our lives for the sake of truth and for the sake of others, expecting God to raise up something new and powerful and beautiful.
My hope and prayer for all of us is that we will all be part of this movement. He is, indeed, risen! May our lives reflect this truth!