I re-read Flannery O'Connor's great short story A Good Man Is Hard To Find last night. It has an amazing scene toward the end (okay, every single word of this story is great... if you haven't read it I am pitying you right now. Pitying you. Go get it.) where The Misfit, a polite serial killer who has escaped from prison and come across a stranded family on vacation has a conversation with the grandmother about Jesus. A short bit from that section:
"Jesus was the only One that ever raised the dead." The Misfit continued, "and He shouldn't have done it. He thrown everything off balance. If He did what He said, then it's nothing for you to do but throw away everything and follow Him, and if He didn't, then it's nothing for you to do but enjoy the few minutes you got left the best way you can--by killing somebody or burning down down his house or doing some other meanness to him. No pleasure but meanness," he said and his voice had become almost a snarl.
Our pastor's message this morning made me think of this, too... he spoke about how God prefers either white-hot passion or complete rejection from us, that this sort of mealy-mouthed indifference makes Him sick.
I was reminded of how Death is described as a lion in the wastelands, ravenous and eating up human lives by the handsful. But when Death came up against Jesus it had only the briefest victory before he kicked in its teeth. It makes perfect sense to me that a Person who could come back to life would be celebrated for the rest of the eternity. What doesn't make sense to me are the people who come to church just on Christmas and Easter... what is that all about? It seems to me that it's all or nothing, in or out. I don't understand the mild assent to Jesus... if He did what He said. I think I agree with The Misfit on that.
In any case, it's a good day to remember the Hope that is available in Jesus... that we need never truly die, and that He has given us proof of that in his own life, death and resurrection.