I thought of it much this past Resurrection weekend, and I can’t stop thinking about it:
Somebody I knew for forever and loved with all my heart was killed by suicide, died by a sickness that invaded their own mind, and died by their own hurting hand.
What in this busted world does Resurrection Sunday
actually mean, on the hard, ordinary days now?
Missiles are killing wailing babes and fleeing civilians in Ukraine.
Young families we love, and are on our knees with, are beating back cancer stalking dangerously close with the stench of death.
What in this busted world does Resurrection Sunday now actually do, actually mean, on the hard, ordinary days after we stop greeting each other with “He is risen, He is risen indeed”?
How are we really the Rising People when we honestly can hardly keep standing for our losses and collective ache?
This much we know:
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, it’s verifiable historical fact that whatever the women, the first preachers of the resurrection, and whatever the followers and disciples of Jesus, experienced that Sunday morning and the days afterward, it was nothing less than life-changing and re-orienting, to the extent they were willing to risk their very lives to proclaim it and live into it.
The first witnesses to Jesus’ resurrection were headed one way — and then were so changed, they entirely changed life direction. After looking into the face of the resurrected Lord, they did a complete about-face and their whole lives turned to face a different direction.
That’s what Jesus’ resurrection does in the world now:
Resurrection changes a life’s direction.
Resurrection changes our direction — from close-fisted to open-handed.
Resurrection reorients the hurt of this world in a different direction.
Resurrection is revolutionary because it changes our trajectory.
And it’s when Jesus’ still hanging on the cross that Jesus points that different direction. It’s the point of Jesus’s very last words.
He wasn’t finished when He said “It is finished.” The Word, who spoke 7 last lines on the Cross, still had 7 last words in His heart. The Dying God had one final thing left to say:
Everything is only finished when everything is entrusted into God’s hands.
With His last breath before death, Jesus says that the best place for His life is in the hands of God.
It’s Jesus’ last words before He died that point the way that His resurrection changes our life’s entire direction.
Resurrection changes a life’s direction from running after all kinds of ways to take things into our own hands, and turns us toward extending our own open hands to commit all things into God’s hands.
Resurrection changes a life’s direction from turning to pulling life toward our own expectations and way — to the surrendered direction of Jesus’ last words before He died — “Into Your hands, I commit…. “ this grief, that ache, this cry, this prayer, this … everything.
Resurrection changes our direction — from close-fisted to open-handed.
Were Jesus’ very last words of entrusting all into God’s hands actually the beginning of His resurrection story — and could trust like that be the beginning of ours?
The Resurrection proves it and changes all of life’s direction:
The only place that’s safe in the whole of the universe are the hands of God.
That’s what resurrection does right now in the world, and that’s what the direction of the very last words that cross Jesus’ dying lips on the cross point to:
The hands that went to Calvary, that took the nails and a cosmos of pain to rescue you,
are the safest hands in the world to entrust your whole world to.
The hands that went to Calvary, that took the nails and a cosmos of pain to rescue you, are the safest hands in the world to entrust your whole world to.
Into Your hands, we entrust this begging hope.
Into Your hands, we commit this bruised and tender relationship.
Into Your hands, we entrust this impossible, into Your hands we commit this dream, this child, this heartbreak, this no way.
Resurrection happens wherever there is a long trusting in God’s direction.
From the instant of our rebirth at the foot of the cross when we entrust our spirits into His hands, till the last moment when our people pray at the foot of our bed, and they entrust our spirit into His hands — all of our lives are only fully lived in His hands, the ones scarred with our very name.
It’s only a life lived in the love of His scarred hands that can ever heal us.
And that’s what resurrection does now in the world: When our end comes, we aren’t merely committed back to the earth, we aren’t committed to an empty blackness, when the end comes, you are committed in one direction, into the holding hands of the only One who has ever loved you to death — and will love you into the forever life.
It’s when you realize your life is actually out of your hands, and is in His hands, then your heart can finally rest in peace — because can’t we deeply rest in trusting that He’s better at being God than we are?
When I’m up late, cleaning up some of the remnants of our Resurrection Sunday festivities, when I’m ruminating on a world that wonders if war could go nuclear, on a world where the sickness of suicide can poison a mind to think that death is a better way than life, I turn to the Farmer in the shadows of the kitchen and whisper,
“Can I just say it aloud? What if we all keep failing and falling, what if I keep failing and falling, what if death just keeps coming in all kinds of ways, for all of us?”
The Farmer turns in the kitchen doorway and looks at me from the doorway, the light from the front porch framing him:
“Ann, the truest reality is: — We don’t belong to that story. You don’t belong to that story. You belong to God.”
You don’t belong to despair, you don’t belong to sickness, you don’t belong to death, you don’t belong to failure, you don’t belong to war, you don’t belong to hopelessness or injustice or any dark story. You belong to God.
And all we long for, belongs in the hands of God.
We are never abandoned when we abandon ourselves to the hands of God.
The hands that placed the stars
Has your name etched right into His palms,
And when He rose from the dead,
He rose with His scars still, right under your name,
Because those scars punctuate the depth of His love for you.
The hands that placed the stars has your name etched right into His palms, and when He rose from the dead, He rose with His scars still, right under your name, because those scars punctuate the depth of His love for you.
The way you practice resurrection is to practice the direction of your life, the direction of your hands: “Into Your, Lord, hands I commit — even this.”
Resurrection changes our direction — turning us to directing everything from our hands into the hands of God.
Nothing changes your very life like making that the very prayer of your life, “Into Your hands, Father, I commit every part of my life.”
In the days after Resurrection Sunday, when I stand at the kitchen window with a cup of coffee, watching how this old hurting world turns outside my window, how the headlines turn, how my own aching heart turns, I practice it, the direction of my hands, the direction of the opening and closing of my hand — and the way of this one short prayer, again and again, in the same direction: “Into Your hands, Lord, I commit all my longings.”
And a rising and resurrection always comes with this direction, this deep belonging to God, soul-safe and entrusted to His kind hands.
What does it practically look like to follow the life-giving, vulnerable Way of Jesus?
What does it personally look like to form your mind, your days, your life, into the deeply meaningful, cruciform love of Jesus and entrust everything into His hands?
What does it powerfully look like to have a way of life, that actually lives the life-giving Way of Jesus?