Today is Easter. Resurrection Sunday.
I have never, actually, been much of an Easter guy. Sounds odd coming from someone who used to be a pastor. People say Easter is “Superbowl Sunday” for pastors.
I always faced every Sunday like Easter. Every Sunday was a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. I really approached it that way. I was thoroughly Christocentric and it is impossible to have your life, ministry and preaching centered on Christ and not have it find its natural center in the resurrection.
Easter didn’t matter to me because resurrection was the breath in my soul. I lived and breathed it every day, every week.
It was resurrection that moved me. Resurrection inspired me. The stone rolled away that first resurrection day and two thousand years later, my own tomb was empty. Resurrection made me alive.
Four years ago I served in a very difficult ministry. In the middle of that ministry, we discovered a brain tumor in my wife, Wendy. A couple of weeks after she was released from the hospital, the church said, “We don’t want you to be our pastor any more. Go away.”
At that moment, I was mortally wounded. I didn’t know it at the time, but the betrayer’s sword cut much deeper than I realized. It set in motion my death. It was a terrible infection that began to eat away healthy flesh and left a path of necrotic tissue.
Inch by inch, I died.
The tomb called to me, and with my last strength, I answered the call. The stone was rolled in place and death won. The faith that, for decades, was my life, was dead.
Today is Easter. It is resurrection Sunday. At church, we sang songs about empty graves. We celebrated the end of death. I along with everyone else.
But my own soul is dead.
I have prayed, “Please awaken this sleeper. Please bring resurrection into my death. God, please roll away this stone from in front of my tomb.”
I want. I really want to live. But death is strong and this stone is stubborn.
I am not trying to be overly dramatic. I don’t want sympathy or platitudes. Neither moves stones for me.
So why am I writing this? I guess I spent my whole ministry opening the blinds on my soul so people could see me and know me—the real me–with faith and faulters. Authenticity was one of the marks of my ministry and of my life. So I am tipping the blinds a bit one more time.
I had a time in my life when I wasn’t sure I believed all this God stuff. This is not that time. I believe. I believe it all. I believe in Jesus. I believe He sits at the right hand of God. I believe He loves me. I believe He died for the sin of humanity. I believe the stone was rolled away. I believe Jesus was resurrected. I believe.
The problem is not one of belief. The problem is, I am dead. The tomb is sealed. The stone will not roll away.
I don’t like being dead, so I am going to begin a journey of faith. A journey from death to resurrection. I am trusting there is a way to move the stone.
Here is what the journey is going to look like.
I am going to reacquaint myself with Jesus. I am going to wander through one of the Gospels like I did when I used to preach. I am going to watch and listen to Jesus. Over and over, I am going to ask Jesus to move the stubborn stone on my tomb.
Along the way, I am going to try to journal the journey—reflecting on the life of Jesus and on my own soul as well.
This is going to be a long journey and I would rather not go alone.
I am going to ask a friend to commit to walk the journey with me. I am going to ask him to hold me accountable to write and think and pray. But there is room for more on this path.
I would love for several people to go on this journey with me. I can use all the help I can get and it might be valuable for you as well. This blog can provide a way for you to join me.
If you want to walk beside me—maybe you are on the same journey, or maybe you love me and want to help me find my way out of this tomb—take some time and read my blog and interact with the ideas. Write comments. Share insights. But mostly, just let me know you are reading.
That will help me. That will encourage me. This stubborn stone needs to move.
I am hoping to begin this journey soon. Stay tuned. Thanks for reading.