Thursday, August 23, 2018

Jealous of Resurrection

Some days, I am jealous of resurrection.

I'm the pastor who hates preaching on Easter. Mostly, I hate it because there's not much else to say about Easter. Some colleagues have said that we talk around it all year, so it's strange and difficult on the Sunday when we tell resurrection and resurrection only.

The story of resurrection is both terrible and beautiful. The most horrible lasts a few days, even an agonizing death only a few hours. Death's hopelessness lasts only a few hours more--three days is kind of pushing it actually. It's more like a day and a half, at least the way I count time. Friday night to Sunday morning bears little resemblance to Thursday night to Sunday night.

Either way, resurrection chases away hopelessness unexpectedly, wonderfully--and quickly.

I have never seen a resurrection so quick in real life. More painfully, I have rarely seen suffering so brief, so fleeting, so quickly reversed. Sure, the resurrected Christ bears the scars of suffering, but they are not the oozing raw of wounds that are hours old.

I am jealous of resurrection.

I know I'm dancing around the question of suffering--why and how and lack of God's intervention. More than that, I'm wondering about redemption. That's the part of resurrection that is most appealing to me: how God takes the terrible and transforms it into something beautiful, something beyond any expectation. I'm pretty good with evil existing, with our complicity in evil systems, with our creation of them to start with. Well, good is the wrong word--at least this is how I narrate evil. I'm far more worried about the evil we do together than the evil we do alone.

It's the timeline for resurrection that troubles me.

I just finished the most recent season of Orange Is the New Black. This season, unlike last season, ends with redemption--at least for some. The show is difficult, for sure, but hopeful. In the midst of violence, addiction, hopelessness, lost causes, broken relationships and every other heartache of prisoners, somehow, this is not the end. OITNB would scandalize many good Christians, in part because it does not attempt to hide brokenness. It amplifies the complexity of brokenness, in fact.

That's not clear until the final episode of this season. For twelve shows, I was wondering if this was just going to keep getting worse. The thirteenth episode is downloaded to watch again at the gym. Somehow, in the midst of so much that is terrible, there is overwhelming redemption. It is not that everything is right; it is the promise that it can be. Maybe you just have to make it through the twelve episodes before you see it.

I know the can be is Gospel. I know that's resurrection, redemption.

Still, I wonder how long. How long? How long?

How long before redemption?

I wish I knew. I do not, but I do trust that God does. As some rough political years roll on, I am jealous of resurrection. And I hold on to the hope that it is coming.