I’m told that as I was learning how to stand and walk that I had to deal with an interesting little hindrance: my older brother. Of course I was too young to remember, but according to my parents he enjoyed giving me a little nudge as I toddled about, pushing me down on my backside.
This no doubt set the course for much of our interaction growing up. As the younger brother I would prod and annoy; as the older brother he would assert his position by knocking me down. This is the way of brothers.
But as we both matured, the dynamic changed. I became much less annoying; he pushed me down less and less. And he became someone who, instead of constantly putting me in my place, began to help me up. And he still does.
He became my supporter and not my nemesis. Now he gives me guidance instead of shoves. He helps me stand rather than pushing me down.
He’s my brother.
In so many ways Lent is a prolonged, hard look at the darkness in the world. As Trevor pointed out yesterday, this is a reality that must be faced. We live in a world that is marked with darkness and destruction and sin. Lent makes us take a look at this head-on — the sin in the world, in our neighborhoods and especially the sin inside ourselves. By facing reality, we are amazed at the cross. We marvel at a man filled with love who would give his life to change this situation.
It’s why we have latched on to the cross as a symbol of our beliefs.
But the story does not end there. Easter brings us to a greater reality — that resurrection is real. The cross in itself is an amazing story, but the empty tomb bring more love, more joy, more hope. It is not just the story of sins paid; it is the story of death defeated.
The cross is amazing, but at our core Christians are resurrection people.
But I don’t see us always being people of resurrection. In fact, lately I have not really wanted to go online or blog because everywhere I turn I see negativity. Whether it’s magazine articles detailing Christian outrage over the Noah movie or the WorldVision decision, or another Facebook post in my feed complaining about our President or the government, or another snarky blog post from one Christian calling out another — I just get sick of the negativity.
Because sometimes we seem to think that our job is to point out all the darkness in the world; to call out the sin and expose the darkness. To stand up to the world and push it back down in its place. To simply point out what is dark and sinful and wrong. Which is true, but it’s not the whole story.
To simply yell at the darkness is to stop at the cross. And there’s so, so much more to our story.
The Greek word for resurrection is anastasis, which literally means “to stand again.” Imagine Lazarus in John 11, stumbling out of that tomb and literally standing again. What a shock that must have been, to move from darkness to being able to live and breathe and love again.
This world needs resurrection. It needs to stand again.
You can get a lot of attention through negativity, by pointing out what is wrong with the world. Just take a look at cable news for proof. And to be sure, there is value in pointing out what needs to be changed. But if all we do is call out the wrongs of the world, we’re like a big brother pushing the world down.
What the world needs from Christians is not a push down, but a hand to help them stand back up. The world needs reconcilers and bridge builders. It needs people who feed the poor and cloth the needy. It needs people who will call them out of the darkness of their tombs and show them how the live and breathe and love the way they were created to.
The world needs people of resurrection.
So today, as we face a world that is dark and sinful and dangerous, let us go beyond the negativity. Let us look to Easter and be people who make resurrection real. Let’s bring light and love and hope to a world that desperately needs to stand again.
Let’s be lovers of people. Let’s be good brothers and sisters to those around us. Let us be people of resurrection.