From the Front Porch – Six Months Ago
Then he shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And he came out, a cadaver, wrapped from head to toe, and with a kerchief over his face. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him loose.” (The Story of Lazarus John 11)
It has been six months – exactly six months since Hubby rushed me to the emergency room in the middle of the night. The breaths came in short and stabbing. The blood clot was thick and halting, life stopping. I can’t get the story of Lazarus off my mind. Like Lazarus come out of the tomb with the grave clothes wrapped around his once dead flesh I too am unbelievably, miraculously alive.
As the burial perfume hovered over Lazarus in the days and weeks to come because no matter how much he washed his skin he could not get the stench of death off of him I too feel marked.
Six months later and I still can’t wash the stink off my skin.
Jesus called Lazarus to, “Come on Out!” and he did. He came forth from the dark nothingness and out into the bright openness of life.
It was an invitation to live… to live a resurrected life.
But we don’t have Lazarus’ whole story to understand what that looks like.
The porch is hot this morning. The sun beats down on me and the keyboard. The neighborhood song birds take up a glorious Sunday chorus. For the first time in my life I do not join the Sabbath song I simply listen. Women and men dressed in their Sunday best, carrying pamphlets with scripted words meant to draw you to Christ and your family to community make their way up and down the block.
They speak the script geared at enticing me to their way of living and thinking and reading about God.
I pause in writing the words to take a booklet and listen to two men with beautiful smiles and kind eyes and a desire to help me live a good life while earning their eternal reward.
I pray to really listen. I pray to see them for who they are not in fear of what they might say and not in judgment of what they choose to believe. I have to fight hard to reject how the church of my youth has taught me to see them and respond to them:
- I do not rush back into the house to hide.
- I refuse to slam the door in their faces.
- I will not turn away in rude rebuke.
- I silence the need to lecture them.
I refuse to proselytize them in return.
Instead I want to hear their words and look in their eyes and engage them as a human being to a human being. We are Created Ones who are deeply loved by a great big God sharing a moment on the front porch – my front porch.
I can not live the ways I have witnessed.
I can not choose the life of fear-mongering and judgment.
I live a life that has been marked.
A life marked by Christ can not do things the way that they have always been done…
Choosing the status quo is not abundant life living.
There is no resurrection where there is not first love – love of God, love of man, love of self.
So I invite them to coffee and while they refuse the invitation I recognize that this my first Front Porch invite:
- An invitation to find a resurrected life.
- An invitation to live a powerful story.
- An invitation to be human together in one quiet space.
I think the front porch is going to need a few more chairs…
When Others Can Not See Your Markings
The thing is that they can not see it. My neighbors, these proselytizer, and other people that I meet – they can not see to look at me what my flesh and spirit have been through.
Even now as we speak and as I write I breathe deep and feel the pain – I feel the reminder of the tomb as I take in air and release it.
I want to live a resurrected life, I pray those whom I meet along the way can smell the aroma of a life pulled from the grave.
How does a resurrected woman who has heard the words, “Come on Out” whispered over her life gather the courage to live what resurrection means?
I have asked the word, “HOW” often in the past six months.
I can not do it the same ways anymore.
Resurrection means new life. New wine. New skins.
And just about the time I start back into useless patterns of living and thoughtless ways of thinking a pain shoots up my arm and through my neck – and I remember.
I remember the tomb and the stench of the grave.
I remember the perfume of a resurrection morning.
I pause in the awe of what it means to FEAR the Lord.
I choose to live a life that Reeks of resurrection.
Join the Journey,
Front Porch questions to consider this week:
- What about you what patterns – learned and chosen – have you lived that do not reflect the resurrected life?
- What stench hovers over your flesh? Does it smell of perfume or garbage?
- What does being marked mean to you?
- Have you ever experienced something that made your life/faith shift?
- If you could choose one thing to release from your life today, something or someone that sucks the life from you, what/who would it be and why have you not let it/them go?
I love this song from Amy Grant and Yes I am aware of what this video depicts: