A very strange thing happened today… as I slept far too long. I wrote it off simply to recovery and recuperation, but this was not the only strange thing. Last night, when I retired, God broke upon me with a powerful new thing. It is not at all unusual for Him to do this when I wake, or even to wake me with… some new thing. But normally, once I nest into Him for the night… that’s it. We may do things, fly, music, whatever… but not teaching. Not new things. This time, was different.
This time, as my soul tried to quiet, He became very active, very… effervescent is I guess the closest word I can come to this. The “statement”, if one can be made without sheer irreverence to these moments… the “statement” was… “I am the God of Life! I am Love, the God of Life! and Life and Living Only! NOT Death!”
Now, needless to say, that is a simple statement. And, cognitively, we can readily assent to it. We can nod, with some intensity, and pronounce, “Yes, of course, Lord… that is True!” And so, of course, I did.. though a bit taken aback. But that wasn’t nearly enough. That… that… awareness… simply went on, becoming more and more intense and more and more clear.
The Truth became bigger and bigger, faster and more powerful… like a tornado growing to encompass all of me, of my life, of my universe, then all of this time, this space, then all of time, space, life, existence and Being. This Truth became The Communion, the Church, all of mankind, all of Life Everywhere.
And then, just as this Tornado had become huge, like a hurricane, embracing and engulfing all… It focused “down” again, into a pinpoint of accuracy and specificity… It came to the Cross 2000 years ago… It came to the Resurrection of Jesus.
“I AM the God of Life! Death is meaningless to Me. Man brought Death into being by believing in it, by believing in something Other than Life! Something Other than Me! The Serpent exists to promote Death, to bring My children to believe in it… engage in it. But to believe in Me is to embrace Life through Love. SEE this!”
And sleep totally escaped me as I sat up and “waited out this storm” to see what I was to understand. I just tried to be still and calm, and wait.
And what came was… Easter…
Our entire Christian existence… our Lives… are made meaningful by Easter. The God of the Resurrection. The Resurrection of Jesus, the Raising of Jesus… God Himself… by the Father… God Himself… in Love… God Himself. Yes.
That Jesus became “dead” by accepting into Himself… Death.
He “captured” it… He “engulfed” it. He “embraced” it. By doing that, doing that without resistance, He could and did bring all of that within Himself… all sin, all fear, all mistrust, all dissonance, all darkness… and thus… being God Himself, being the contrary of all that, in Infinite Selfhood… All that was utterly destroyed.
Dying, He destroyed our Death. Rising, He restored our Life.
And then… the Father… the Source… the Giver… the Lover… Raised Him up again from Death to New Life. Yes.
But also… this is the story of the Christian, the simple Christian… dead, then raised by the grace and power of God Alone into Life.
And the story of the entire Cosmos…. Dead, by the fall in the Garden… raised to new life by the Power of Life and Love that is God.
It just went on and on… but always, in those moments after waking, the focus was “God of Life through Love”… and it reverberated unceasingly.
He bid me go to my tools, and check out “raised from dead” in Scripture. He said, and I had no reason to doubt Him, that Paul… over and over again… repeated this Truth as the anchor truth of our Way. The Theology of the nature of God, or Christology, or Trinity, or church organization and discipline, or even works, signs and wonders… all these were important things, yes.
BUT… THE most important thing, mentioned (apparently) in every document Paul ever laid his hand to… was the “Resurrection of Jesus”.
God pointed out that in all these years I had missed even the critical nature, the right-out-there-in-the-open statements of Paul when He said, “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” [Romans 10:8-10]
If there is a single Truth that is the most critical as the statement of faith for union with God… it is this truth… That God is God of the Living, not of the Dead. That the Nexus of Time… the Setting Right of the Cosmos… was not only The Crucifixion, but inextricable with The Resurrection.
Have I “seen this before”? Could I have said this is/was true in terms of theology?
Yes, of course. Is it, therefore, “new”, in that sense? I guess not.
But what I had NOT seen, not understood so viscerally, is God’s Name as Life Not Death, and that when we yield in Him we promote life. That it is the enemy’s agenda, ever and always, to promote and try to “dress up” death in some way to make it appealing. (As the Serpent did in the Garden). That to sin, to choose “not God” in any given moment, is to choose death in that moment and bring shadow, darkness, into our world.
I’m liking Paul the Apostle more by the day. He got this. He really had this.
What a shame… So many people terrified of The Father. So many people who hate Him, or flee Him, or mistrust Him, or choose… like the children of Israel at Sinai… “you go listen to Him, and tell us what He says. His voice frightens us…”
How heartbreaking for Him… when all He wants to do, all He does, always… is Give Life through Love.