By Brett Younger
In the thirteenth century, the Persian poet Rumi had an interesting way of describing our need for resurrection. He wrote this dialogue:
"The mystics are gathering in the street. Come out!"
"Leave me alone. I'm sick."
"I don't care if you're dead! Jesus is here, and he wants to resurrect somebody!"
Isn't that a curious way to say it? "I don't care if you're dead! Jesus is here, and he wants to resurrect somebody!" Jesus always wants to resurrect somebody-especially the church. When the church is in need of resurrection, Sunday School is the same old, same old. The prayer concerns are always sick people - who need prayer - but seldom does anyone mention the war in Afghanistan or the crisis in our public schools. Most don't mention their own concerns - the fear of being single, marital problems, or a struggle with depression. Not many Sunday School classes have heard anyone admit their addictions until they're cured.
In the church in need of resurrection, Bible study is always about the same. Much of the discussion is kindhearted minutiae that steers clear of controversy. The world is falling apart while genuinely nice people seem fascinated with, "Whatever happened to the Jebusites?"
When the church needs resurrection, worship is safe. Prayers are predictable. Sermons present a timid gospel that avoids whatever issues the congregation and preacher want to avoid. Ministries are cautious. Jesus' first sermon proclaimed that God anoints Christ and his followers to preach "good news to the poor, release to the captives, sight to the blind, and freedom to the oppressed." Most churches don't spend much time with the poor, imprisoned, blind, or oppressed.
The church always needs resurrection. God wants the church to stop expecting others to conform to our particular way of doing things. God will teach us not to be limited by what others do or think, but to go where the Spirit leads. God will help us pray honestly, fervently, and passionately. God will lead us to open the Bible, ask hard questions, and listen for God's guidance.
God is calling the church to new life. God is inviting us to seek out those who feel almost dead and share God's love. God is pleading with us to welcome all kinds of people. God is calling us to be a church with a warm heart, an open mind, and an adventurous spirit.
Jesus wants to resurrect us and help us realize that it's Easter for the church.