Monday, May 5, 2014

The Lazarus Experiment day 13

Lazarus was one lucky fella.
I wonder if, on his last birthday, Lazarus blew out all the candles on his birthday cake with one breath?

Or, at the big Bethany Rosh Hashana party, did Lazarus dig into a Vasilopita and find a coin? Maybe Laz carried around a rabbit's foot. Maybe he hung a horseshoe upside down over his front door to gather in the blessings. Maybe he grew a lucky bamboo.

After all, something was going Lazzy's way. Something tilted the scales of fate in his direction. Lazarus won the Beat Death Down Mega Millions Lotto. Maybe it was because he never stepped on a crack in the dusty roads between Bethany and Jerusalem. Or maybe it was because he always stepped on the cracks, and therefore, broke the devil's back.

I know you probably don't believe all that tripe.

But we sometimes catch ourselves thinking that if we only do something right, even something spiritual, in the right order, in the right way, with the right words, using the right scripture, sitting in the right place, and if we make sure we say, "In Jesus name," or "Lord willing," at the end, Jesus will magically appear, the bucket at the end of the rainbow will be full, and everything will turn out OK.

Actually, the story of Lazarus' death leads us to the exact opposite conclusion. We can't breeze past the obvious: Lazarus died. Mary didn't want that to happen. Martha knew it didn't need to happen. Even Jesus understood that it wasn't a good thing. We might say, "His luck ran out."

Martha seems to think that maybe if things had been different, Laz would still be alive. "If you had just listened and come when we called you, Jesus!" Sure, she plays the diplomat and tries to be all nicey-nice. But you know what she's thinking: "Hey! Pay attention next time, Jesus! My brother's dead and it's all because - why? You wanted to spend a little more vaca time with your buddies in the wilderness? The golf course was calling your name? It was more important to feed the nameless hoards some more bread and fish? YOUR BEST FRIEND IS DEAD, BUCKO! THANKS A MILLION FOR BEING HERE!"

(And then she made lunch.)
The thing is, this Jesus-life, it's not about the timing or the luck or the ritual or the manipulation of the stars and the universe. It's about leaning into him, in relationship.

Magic is when we do something religious to force the gods to do what we want.
Faith is trusting the One and Only God that whatever he does is the best for us.
Lazarus threw his rabbit's foot away after he died and came back. There is no need for luck when Jesus is in the picture.


Suggested Scripture For Today: Psalm 103

Suggested Ideas:
1. Do you have a lucky shirt? A pair of lucky shoes? Some kind of object that is a talisman--that you think gives you an edge? What would Lazarus do with that stuff?
2. Spend an hour with God, asking him to show you when you've traded a relationship with him for a formula for success. It could even be a spiritual formula. Ask God what he wants you to do about that.
3. Identify five rituals you perform routinely in your life. It could be the way you brush your teeth, or the route you take to work, or the phrase you use to your kids when they go to bed. It could be one of hundreds of things we do ritually, habitually. Pick out five of them and don't do them today.
4. Tell ten people today that it's Jesus who makes you smile.
It's time to step it up out there! Let's do some intentional, outrageous stuff over the weekend! And we want PICTURES! VIDEO! EVIDENCE!
This is truly amazing. Do you see all the things God is up to? I hope you're relishing these days.

My Day 13
My birthday was lovely and filled with surprises. I was on my way out the door to get a mani (Happy Birthday to me) when my son, Daughter in Law and sweet grandson came over to spend the day with me. They took me to lunch and I offered to pay for lunch but they actually bought me lunch, AND dessert at Extraordinary Cupcakes (and holy Moses it absolutely was extraordinary).

Dalton came home and we went out together then loaded up and had a great night at the lacrosse field where his team were 1 and 1 for the night. It was a beautiful surprise to have one of my dearest friends and her whole family come out and watch the games with us as well as not so little boy's Big Brother (from Big Bros Bis Sis's).

Then off to dinner (which was a new restaurant we hadn't tried and it was terrible but oh well LOL). We stopped by my bff's (and I knew they didn't know it was my bday so I was really looking forward to some quiet down time with my friends to cap off my day). Before I knew it two of my girlfriends had a cupcake with a candle pulling me aside for some quiet personal time together. We are three wacky individuals, completely different people but despite all our differences, we do love each other. It was quite sweet. One of them started talking and the entire candle burned to the icing before she realized she was stll telling me how much I mean to them. I was really touched. Then two other folks who had left shortly after I arrived returned with a cake and a beautiful boquet of flowers. I was so so surprised and touched by their love. I felt really really blessed.....A truly spontaneous ALL DAY! (well except for actually going to the game LOL)

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