Monday, August 18, 2008

Raising the Dead

"Very truly I tell you, the hour is coming and now is here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and will live." John 5:25

After returning home from an endless bunch of days, watching and waiting in the hospital, I remarked to my husband that I was completely dead on my feet. That I was worn to a frazzle, and wanted only to read a book and fall asleep. I had done all I knew how to do, and still felt inadequate and worn out. We often hear these words of Jesus, after he is reprimanded for working on the sabbath, as referring to those who have physically died and gone before us. And that is one interpretation. But in the past few days, I realized what it meant to be "dead men walking", living with the anxiety of the end of life, and to want to be raised to new life. I have felt like I was slogging through a trough, wading in a downward facing mud pit. We all come to those places in or lives, when what we face, and what we have to do is overwhelming. We can all feel death surrounding us, and we can feel the terrifying loss of the ability to go forward anymore. These words of Jesus spoke in a new way to me.

I remember a time in my life when I thought I had died. I was a young girl of twelve, and had a very serious but successful abdominal operation. I was several days post surgery, loaded with drugs, and woke to find a man standing in my room, clothed in white and gold, wearing a pointed hat and carrying a scepter. I assumed it was St. Peter. It was actually a Cardinal friend of my Dad's, who stopped to see me when visiting the hospital. I wasn't as much afraid as I was surprised to think about being dead. None of can really know what the after life truly is, but many of us, when life overwhelms us have a sense of what dying is - the light, the energy, the joy, the spark -all of it going out. Into this extinguishing world speaks a Savior - I am bringing life to the dead, hear me. This is not the end, and there is more joy to come. Those are words I needed to hear today. Those words promise a new possibility in this life and new life in worlds to come. I am not one to worry, but the weight of the world can sometimes overwhelm me. But Jesus speaks into this place we all find ourselves -the hour is now. New life is coming, and it is here.

I don't yet know what this new life looks like. I only know that I am ready to listen and to follow. So many roads have been closed, so many towns are no longer safe for habitation. But in the midst of one or several ends, new life is breaking forth. May we all remember today that we are surrounded by those who are worn down by life, pressed down so hard that they cannot see the light. They cannot hear the love and activity of God bringing new life. May we who are able to hear be agents of life for those who have been broken. May we hold them in our prayers as we pray for all those who bear large burdens alone. May love break through and may life return to us all.

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