Resurrection People

The news has been bringing me down lately. I know there is always bad news out there. And I know to monitor my intake of it. I know to look for stories that reflect something other than the fear mongering or the dregs of human behavior in which some media channels tend to traffic.

This depressing news has come at me from lots of different directions.

Donald Trump, a man who somehow is a “serious” contender for the Republican Presidential nomination, publicly and proudly has made any number of sexist, racist, nativist, and otherwise offensive statements. I keep hoping he will go away, but people seem to be cheering on a man who shows nothing but disregard for other people and for our political process. And the other candidates lining up behind him, rather than calling him out on his behavior, are instead copying him. I want them all to go away, yet I recognize that if we don’t publicly denounce the disrespect they show people, and the racist and discriminatory nature of their proposed policies, then our silence sounds like consent.  The 2016 election is over a year away–can we make it to that day?  How long, O Lord?

And then today, news of another shooting. This time it was live, on air, as a cameraman and a reporter were assassinated while reporting on a story. Viewers watched the scene change as the camera fell. A number of people commented that “if the murder of a bunch of 5 and 6 year old children at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary wasn’t enough to change gun laws in this country, then nothing ever could”.

No wonder we’re weary.

I get that sentiment. I do. It is depressing to keep hearing the NRA and their minions in congress announce that in each mass shooting, more guns would have been the right solution. We know, deep in our souls, that more guns are not the solution. And yet. We keep electing people who do not pass any gun control legislation.

How long, O Lord?

While I recognize the despair, and the hopelessness we feel in the face of our culture’s glorification of violence, I have to have hope. I have to be hope.

Because we’re Resurrection People.  We serve a God who conquered death and rose from the grave.  If God can defeat a tomb, I have hope to believe God can defeat our culture of violence.

Being a Resurrection People doesn’t mean we’re pollyanna-ish and just sitting around waiting for things to get better. It means we are actively seeking transformation. It means we refuse to take “no” for an answer when our legislators refuse to enact meaningful gun control laws. We keep changing the world by changing ourselves, attentive to the media we consume, the violence we tolerate and glorify, the language and symbols of hate we see around us.

We know that resurrection is not just possible–it is our Hope and our Calling.

David LaMotte published this great article today. Just when I needed it most.  He reminds us the enormity of the task is no reason to stop the work.  “So, I am not arguing that all small efforts lead to large changes. Rather, I am suggesting that all large changes are made up of a myriad of small ones.” We speak hope to each other.

And this song is not a new one, but it seems a pertinent one.

You make beautiful things. You make beautiful things out of the dust.
You make beautiful things. You make beautiful things out of us.

We make beautiful things out of the dust of our lives. We create beauty as a message of hope.

Think of the transformations you’ve experienced and seen in your own life and in the lives of others. A sorority sister today, on the 2 year anniversary of her husband’s death from a brain cancer, wrote about how she can see her husband in each of their three sons. She wrote about the new love in her life. And she said, “God makes beautiful things out of ashes, and we are so blessed to be starting this next chapter of our lives together.”

That’s resurrection. That’s transformation. (And to join the efforts to fight brain cancer, here’s a link to the Broach Foundation.)

Be on the lookout for it in your life and in our world. Lift it up as the way things can be. Because our despair will not get us there. Only love can lead us forward. Only hope in transformation and resurrection.

hope

Another friend offered up this prayer. From Shane Claiborne’s “Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals”:

Lamb of God,
you take away the sins of the world.
Have mercy on us.
Grant us peace.

For the unbearable toil of our sinful world,
we plead for remission.
For the terror of absence from our beloved,
we plead for your comfort.
For the scandalous presence of death in your creation,
we plead for the resurrection.

Lamb of God,
you take away the sins of the world.
Have mercy on us.
Grant us peace.
Come, Holy Spirit, and heal all that is broken in our lives, in our streets, and in our world.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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