sexta-feira, 12 de dezembro de 2014

THE LIVING AND THE DEAD


Why do you look
for the living among the dead?
He is not here;
he has risen!

Luke 24:5b-6a (read 24:1-12 below) – NIV

 

According to Luke, early on the first day of the week some women went to the tomb to care for the body of Jesus. They were filled with astonishment to find that the tomb was empty! Luke reports that inside the tomb, two men appeared to Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary the mother of James and asked, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?" and added, "He is not here; he has risen!"

Regardless of our interpretation of the resurrection, these words have a very deep meaning. Human beings have a tendency to seek life in "tombs" where it no longer exists.

There is a Latin phrase, "rigor mortis" (rigidity of death) which describes the characteristic of a corpse. Flexibility is characteristic of life, stiffness of death. The body of a child is incredibly flexible. In the course of life the body slowly loses its flexibility and the elderly become stiffer and stiffer. Stiffness becomes absolute in death. The tomb is a place to keep corpses and stiffness is the norm. Jesus is not found in tombs.

There are many graves outside the cemetery. Religiousness can become a "tomb" of the human spirit. When religion is afraid of change and promotes rigidity of dogma, doctrines and standards of conduct and tries to standardize people it becomes a spiritual graveyard. Any group that thinks it owns the absolute truth, that considers everyone else to be wrong or inferior and tries to mold its members into a fixed pattern becomes a spiritual ossuary. Conservatism, Liberalism, Pentecostalism, Charismatic movements or any ism can become a spiritual cemetery. People can use the name of Jesus, call him Lord, cast out demons and perform miracles, but Jesus is not among them or even knows them (Matthew 7.21-23). Any stiffness is a sign of death. Those who are alive leave the cemetery. The dead remain.

True resurrection is more than a hope of life after death. It is already a reality here and now! It is liberation from the rigidity of spiritual death. It is power to overcome barriers. It is spontaneous action and is motivated by love. It is liberation from being a slave-like servant of a demanding God and becoming a child who enjoys the hug of a Divine Daddy/Mommy. It takes us to new paths. It is the privilege of accepting everyone as brothers and sisters and living together in solidarity. It is the privilege of being a citizen of a Kingdom that has no boundaries and that includes all creation as God's work.

 

Luke 24:1-12 – New International Version (NIV)

JESUS HAS RISEN

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Then they remembered his words.

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

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