said, "I am the resurrection and the life." -John 11:25
seem to be an inescapable part of church life. The church, like many other
organizations, requires that people meet together from time to time to
advance the work that must be done. For over a decade I was a member of a
diocesan body that employed a training consultant for its members. Our
consultant once commented that, in his place of work, he tried to attend
only those meetings that are life giving. At first I thought his approach
unrealistic. Who has the luxury of attending necessary meetings and
gatherings based on whether or not they are "life giving".
However, the idea behind the comment has a great deal of merit-especially
for the Christian Church. I wonder how meetings and other activities would
rate, if they were judged according to such a principle. Does this
meeting, this event, this service, provide something life giving for those
encounter between Jesus and the sisters of Lazarus was filled with pain
and difficulty. Martha and Mary were grief stricken. The community was in
Jesus himself wept with compassion. It is in the midst of this scene of
turmoil and distress that Jesus says, "I am the resurrection and the
life". The raising of Lazarus by Jesus transforms the encounter into
a life-giving event. We know, of course, that the life-giving nature of
Jesus is not limited to this one event. The "I am" means that
the entire person of Christ is life giving. Christians are called to
follow Christ in this by living lives that are life giving. Thankfully, a
great many people do so. I think each of us can identify someone as a life
giving presence in our life. There may well have been times when they
found it difficult to do so. Indeed, engaging the call to be life giving
or life affirming often requires a willingness to encounter the agony and
anxiety of others.
people of God are placed in the world in order that they may be life
giving and life affirming. Resurrection and life are an essential
characteristic of God's people in Christ.
The events of Holy Week and Easter are a time to pray about and ponder
this particular calling. As a spiritual exercise, and with courage and
humility, we might consider two very related questions. To what extent
does the Church enter into the pain and fractured nature of our world? To
what extent does the Church embody the life giving nature of its Lord?
sees us celebrate the saving work of Christ who is resurrection and life.
We can give thanks that he lives in the life giving influences of others.
Let us pray that, in the eyes of others, he lives in us as well.
Rev. Canon Rod Gillis, Lent & Easter 2005