Is This It?

I recently watched the movie Risen.  Originally meant as a sequel to Passion of the Christ, it took on a life of its own without Mel Gibson’s involvement.  The film tells the story of a Roman tribune Clavius, played masterfully by Joseph Fiennes.

Clavius is present at the crucifixion and is ordered by Pilate to go find the body of Jesus to stop any kind of rebellion that may happen if followers steal the body and claim him risen. He goes searching and, spoiler alert, finds the resurrected Jesus meeting with the disciples in the upper room.

Clavius follows the disciples to Galilee and, in one of the most powerful scenes, wakes in the middle of the night to see Jesus sitting away from him on a rock.  He joins him and they have a unique conversation.

Jesus asks what frightens him and he replies, “Being wrong.” They keep speaking and Clavius breaks down, telling Jesus that the only thing he wants “is a day without death.”

Two powerful statements that hit home with many of us.

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve felt unmoored at the moment. God has shown up in our lives in many ways and we still seem to fight the same battles.  Val and I often talk of where we should be, ten years more stable than now, and wonder when we’ll arrive.  When will our dreams and visions come to pass? Why do we look in the mirror and feel like we’ve lived ten lifetimes?

We are all moving towards the same point.

I picked up Carter from school today (a recent job change has me working three 12 hour shifts with four days off a week) and took him and Aiden to the playground. Things are different from when I was growing up but, in the end, the same.  I watched the kids chase each other, boys play a basketball game, and the crowd climb all over the monkey bars.

The sound of laughter drifted away on this unseasonably summer breeze.

My mind went to the election.  Is this really it? We grow and we chase money. We chase power and influence. We base our comfort on the balance of our bank accounts and, as long as the commas are in there, we’re good. We are living in a country teetering on the brink of a fracture.

I watched my boys and wondered what they’ll learn from it.

As I type, a line from Pastor Erwin McManus comes to my head.  He spoke about faith and feeling like we can’t ask and dream big because we’re afraid we’ll prove God doesn’t exist.

We are scared, like Clavius, to be wrong.

I also want the second part of his admission to Jesus. How about one day without the shadow of death?

One day to live like a million others follow.  One day to give and serve and love without feeling the weight of the future. One day with the courage to retake the first step (God I’ve taken ten thousand first steps chasing a dream) and keep walking.

One day to not feel like a failing father and a lacking husband. To not hold us up against everything around us and look in the mirror and feel the weight of it all.

One day to be free. To tap into the dream God has waiting, the life that will impact the world and change others. The stories that will be told for generations to come. The words that someone will read and know and understand.

One day without death.  Just one Jesus.

I’ll take one.

 

To Be or Not To Be

At the library this week, I picked up an amazing book titled Getting There by Gillian Zoe Segal. The book itself is a series of interviews with prominent businessmen and women, scientists, doctors, entrepreneurs, and other members of society.  Each one tells their stories and offers advice for the reader.

In the section for Jim Koch, head of The Boston Beer Company, he mentions having a message from his secretary posted on his wall.  The message was a phrase “Call back on Monday.” Koch says that it was from a young man who had called his office on a Friday.  He had said he would call back and, that weekend, had a heart attack and died.

Koch’s point was simple.  Don’t put anything off because you have no idea if you’ll have Monday.  You never know when your time is up.

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What if this week was it? What if you had another four days to get done something important from your bucket list? What kind of conversations would you have? Where would you go?

Say it is not four days, but four years?

I’m praying for clarity in this season of our lives and it has led to some interesting developments, revelations, and expansion. Because why not roll the dice?

Segal’s book has inspired me on more than one level and I recommend it to anyone looking for the same. The risk is not taking one at all, not stepping into the path God has laid out for you and living a lukewarm alternative. You can go through the motions or you can be the father, mother, husband, wife, leader and mentor you are destined to become.

It is intimidating. In the quiet moments remember the faith we follow.

This week I also watched the trailer to the upcoming film Risen.  You can see it below.  When you consider the one who has conquered death, the choice isn’t as hard as it seems. Turn away from fear, stand up, and change your world this week.

~Matt