Friday, April 19, 2013

The Lazarus Experiment - Day Eighteen

There may be no surer evidence for grace than friendship.

I love the descriptions, scant as they are, of Jesus' relationship with the Lazarus family. It sounds so easy, so warm. I like the eating and the relaxing and the hanging out. I think it would be great to have dinner with Jesus and just occupy with each other for a couple hours.

But that's probably not going to happen soon, unless Jesus decides to return this week or call me home. Until then, it could get lonely - very lonely - and I need the flesh-and-blood evidence of his grace and acceptance. So do you.

That's what friends are for.

It would be a Lazzie thing to do to connect with your friends. To say a random "Hello!" without warning. To send a card or a token of love. To hide a surprise or to plan a trip. To share coffee or tea or a beer. Those connections are grace-fuel, and we dare not go too long without tanking up. We're not made to run on fumes.

If you know me, you realize that I am a devout proponent of Facebook. I think it is amazing, and one of the most innovative and radical technologies in the last decades. It promotes connection for me and it's been so very good to make friends across all kinds of barriers - space, time, relational. It's easy.

And that's why I would say that if your relationships - especially those that are grace-rich - are on Facebook only, and if that's the only way you're making the connection work, you need to step it up. Sure, you can pull grace from that. But you need more. You need face-to-face. Somehow, Jesus lives in those moments.

We've already seen that one of the first things Lazarus did when he was up on his feet was to throw a party and be with his friends. He knew they needed to see him, to touch him, to talk. He needed it, too. And I think that, once Jesus was removed from earth and caught up into heaven, Lazarus probably hosted many more gatherings.

Need grace? Jesus is the source, but he often uses other people as his delivery system.

Suggested Scripture For Today: I Corinthians 12:12-26

Suggested Ideas:
Connect in a surprising way to a friend. Go out of your way to show grace.
Take a loaf of homemade bread to your neighbors.
Take a lonely person to a ball game or shopping for groceries.
Carry a pack of post-it notes everywhere you go today and write encouraging notes - could be for specific people you know will find them, but could be for anyone who might wander by and see them! Leave them everywhere!

Question of the Day: What political involvements would Lazarus have had? Did they change after his sure-death experience?

Have a great day,

This is a good one for me today.  I have recently met a young lady who, through no fault of her own, is so very damaged in her heart but she clings to a powerful hope that He will never leave her and will always walk beside her no matter what.  We had an occasion to talk while lunch was being prepared and it was so obvious she is searching for validation from a woman - a mother figure because she never had that.

I'm in a position to afford little, but time I have to spend.  We spent the entire day together.  We did things and talked about things and shared things.  She asked me my thoughts on things and though I really didn't validate or invalidate things to her, I tried to gently direct her to decide for herself what should be right or wrong based on her faith and not on her experiences.  We had such a blessed day and I felt so amazing after having had so much wonderful time with this young lady.  She is a darling and wonderful girl and I really admire her.  We have both come to understand that thinking with our experiences closes doors to some really special and awesome opportunities because we think in terms of consequences rather than in terms of the rewards of living through Jesus.   It's a fear driven thinking rather than being based on the faith that Jesus will walk beside us through anything we do with Him first.

If she had not stepped out in faith, we would have never met.  I hope she continues to take the risks her faith will allow and not take the risks that her experiences have taught her are fun in the moment but have lasting repercussions with self recrimination and discouraging consequences sometimes.  God is so good to have put us together today!

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