Why is it we only connect with some people at funerals?
It would be interesting to surprise the guests at your Bereavement Dinner by showing up between the carrot Jello and the sliced ham and scalloped potatoes. "Hi there! I'm back!"
Which is just what Lazarus did. The period of mourning was still in full swing when Jesus called Lazarus back to life. Lazarus crashed his own death party: "Surprise! Thanks for coming! Who brought the brownies?"
Imagine working the room. There's Aunt Betty, who would not miss the opportunity to get in on all the latest family gossip. You shake hands with your cousin, twice-removed, Bob, who you remember married someone who divorced him, so he technically is not part of the family anymore, but he still enjoys the funereal atmosphere. Your wife is there, of course, and she's happy to see you, but there are people in the room you've never met; at least you don't remember meeting them.
"So, do I know you?" you ask.
"Not really," they say, "I'm just here for the rolls." And you have to admit, the rolls are pretty good.
Would this second-life change the way you look at this room full of people? Close your eyes and do a panoramic shot in your head of the people sitting and noshing at the tables AT YOUR FUNERAL DINNER. Who are they and why are they here? What did life look like the first time on the train? Now that you've been dead and have realized new life because of Jesus, does anything shake down with this group?
It would seem to me that being given a second go-round would motivate a dramatic change. It would prompt me to reconsider shallow connections, too-casual friendships; it would make me ditch the relationship-lite nature of my dealings with other people. No more skimming, no more thin love, no more red-punch-and-cookies fellowship. Cotton-candy relationships are the old way of handling these people. I understand now that life is too short for all that fluff.
Your new life calls you to take on the hurt, the pain, the struggle, the wrestling of deep relationship. Jesus has breathed resurrected life into your once-dead lungs, and part of the package is to engage in the raucous party of people all around you. Finding a tiny house in the middle of the Northern Territories hundreds of miles from another human being is not what Lazarus longed for. (Well, maybe for a week!)
So, look around. It's time to stop breezing through with the people you love. It's time to start going deep. Not snorkel-deep but scuba deep. Submarine deep. What have you got to lose?
Suggested Scripture For Today: Romans 12 (Read it first in your usual translation, then The Message)
1. List the relationships in your life that demand a deeper, more vital connection because of new life in Jesus.
2. List ten ways to take those relationships deeper. Pick one relationship and do the first thing on your list.
3. Write a note to someone today expressing in clear, solid words why they are precious to you. Don't make it a Hallmark card, make it real and make it yours.
4. Going deeper will be messy. But messy does not need to be permanently damaging. Tell someone you're willing to get messy with them.
Fifteen days left. Time to jump-start your good intentions and finish well.