My Sacred, Holy Part

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul covers the validity of Christ’s resurrection and the promise of the believers’ future bodily resurrection, which are two doctrines I have readily understood and accepted since childhood. There is enough in me that fancies a miracle to read the ancient story and say, “Yes. Of course that happened.” What strikes me this morning of Holy Week are a few specific commands woven into this doctrinally thick chapter:

33Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’ 34Become right-minded and stop sinning, because some people are ignorant about God. I say this to your shame….

58Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always exceling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Last week, I was catching up on writer Ann Voskamp’s blog and read a post about parenting and that every morning when we wake up, we are practicing resurrection. I focused on the notion of our future bodily resurrection when I read that line, and that thought has stayed with me ever since, because I am one who struggles to wake up anywhere near the realm of decent human being and the idea of each waking being a dress rehearsal for the day my body rises up from the grave is one that helps me along in soldiering after joy. I need that kind of spiritual whimsy to lighten my soul in the wee hours of the day when my cantankerous grumbles in all its woebegone glory.

But as I read 1 Corinthians 15, I can’t help but think that my daily dress rehearsals for the Last Day are not just that. It isn’t just that I am rehearsing for my future resurrection; I am, each morning when I wake, in some small way, reliving in my physical body what occurred within me the moment I came to Christ. Every morning when I wake up, I am, in my physical body, reenacting the rebirth of my soul in Christ Jesus. “His mercies are new every morning,” the prophet Jeremiah once said. If His mercies are new, then so is His child, and my very human sleep patterns – whether I think on it or not – are a picture of that mercy come new each dawn.

But it isn’t enough to reenact or to rehearse.

People are dying ignorant of God.

“I say this to your shame,” Paul wrote to the Corinthians.

People are waking up each morning, and their waking is not a reenactment or a rehearsal. They are falling asleep and waking up in the same death clothes day after day after day.

And this is to my shame.

I don’t say this to heap guilt upon myself for the salvation of others. It absolutely is not my responsibility to save anyone from an eternity separated from God. But it is my responsibility – my joy and delight, I should hope – to live in such a way that I leave the pleasing, fragrant aroma of Christ behind wherever I go.

Am I?

Am I kind at Tom Thumb to the same employees who say hi to me again and again as I walk through the store?

Am I helpful to the person who is fully capable of helping themselves?

Am I gracious to my children who are so good at being childish?

Am I honoring of my husband in our home and out in the world?

Am I patient with my students and their parents, my colleagues and my supervisors?

Am I forgiving of the driver who cuts me off?

Or do I seek out opportunities to complain and nurse the bitterness that those grumblings plant in my soul?

Do I curse someone on the road and then return to singing a worship song, all in the same breath?

Do I resist engaging with others, because I am tired and want to be alone?

Do I deny myself and them the miracle of letting Him love them through me when I am utterly spent?

Little seeds drop into the hearts of everyone I encounter throughout each day. What seeds I choose to plant matter.

People are dying ignorant of God.

We live in a nation where people think they know Him. They see who the media portrays Him to be and who the church on the corner screams He is.

People are dying ignorant of God.

Living as a resurrected child of God is my part in this life. It is my part in helping the ones who think they know all about Him see the heart of who He actually is. Offering myself up to Jesus as a vessel for His love to pour into those I encounter in whatever way He desires is my part – my sacred, holy part.

Gazing up at Jesus each morning when I reenact and rehearse the resurrection, that is my moment to whisper in my soul to Him, “I remember what You did for me to make me new. Let’s be new together today and see what comes of making much of You, Jesus. Because I remember. I remember that You make me new.”

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