On this, the day before we celebrate Jesus' resurrection, after having commemorated his death on a hill outside Jerusalem two thousand years ago, I am thinking about death and about life. As a Christian, part of me is supposed to have died along with Jesus and another part is supposed to have been raised to life. While there is a deadness, a barrenness, a dryness inside of me, my old sinful nature seems very much alive and while evidence of Jesus' resurrection life, the new self, seems reluctant to emerge from where it is cocooned.
I desire a new life, a vitality, a spiritual rebirth, but I am afraid. I fear both the death and the life that is required. Sometimes I think about Jesus' words. There are some comforting ones like "Come to me all who are weary and heavy-laden" and "No one can snatch them (believers) out of my Father's hand." There are words of hope and grace. But then there are the demanding ones like "Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect" or "If any one would come after me, he must deny himself take up his cross and follow me." I ponder the fate of the ten foolish virgins or the servant who hid his talent, or I remember Christ's words that not every one who says to him "Lord, Lord" will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of his Father in heaven. Jesus had harsh words for the hypocrites and for those who thought they had no need of grace. When I think of Jesus' more difficult words and the cost of discipleship, I second-guess the boundaries of his grace and I ponder the prospect of Christ as judge. Does he really accept me?
This weekend, I prayed that Jesus who suffered on the cross to pay the debt of my sin, would change and renew me and transform me. I prayed that it wouldn't depend on me, but on him. I felt a sense of peace and confidence that he who began a good work in me, would bring it to completion. The parts of me that must die, will die, the dry bones will be brought to life, and the new self will come forth, as Christ burst forth from the grave.