Safe house

All the missing people were here, on the other side of this door. Well maybe not this exact door, but one like it in shape or color, if not style.

They all came here eventually, either on their own or with a guide. But even that wasn’t guaranteed. Guides could only come here once and then they had to disappear too.

There were plenty of robin’s-egg blue doors, and plenty of others that were arched. Not all of these were part of churches, but many were. Churches were the best place for secrets, after all.

Perhaps it had started with confessions, where deep sins were revealed and had to be hidden away. It wouldn’t do to have anything escape the confessional. Then word would get out and nobody would come. Without confessions, the church might as well cease to exist. Those relieved of their burdens were often so grateful that they tithed more. It wasn’t a one-to-one correlation, you understand. It wasn’t as if the priest said “say 20 Hail Mary’s and put $200 in the offering plate” but it worked that way anyway.

But there were plenty of other lost people who came through doors like these. People who’d lost their way in the world. People who didn’t fit in. People who were unwanted, or who just felt that way.

Children weren’t allowed, at least not in this kind of sanctuary. There was a sort of asylum for them, there had to be. Plenty enough children went missing over the years, so there had to be places for them. But this place was permanent. This place was no turning back. This place was more serious, more forever than marriage. There were vows here too, legal documents to sign here too, but there was no change of heart when things got tough. To be more accurate, hearts could change but the situation wouldn’t. No matter how much you begged or pleaded or cried, you could never go back through the doors into the real world. This was your world now.

Plenty came who were turned aside, deftly but firmly informed that there was no such place here. They left, confused, still searching. Perhaps they would find a different clue, overhear a different snatch of conversation. Perhaps they would locate another safe house entrance. Those who were turned aside were fleeing problems – money, love, drugs, either too much or not enough. They wouldn’t last here, wouldn’t be able to knuckle down and get to the business of really living this new life. They would be the first to want to leave and the last to settle down when they finally were made to understand there was no going back.

This new life was more permanent than marriage, more permanent than a tattoo. Both of those could be erased.

Begin again

When we are raised with abusive or neglectful parents, we learn maladaptive coping mechanisms. When we grow up, we often unconsciously continue those habits, reflexively acting, mindlessly being. With the new life that is offered to us through Jesus, we can begin again, with a new Parent in God, who loves us unconditionally and without measure. We can learn how to act in new healthy ways, rather than being stuck in our old mindless habits. Jesus calls us to a new life of being awake and fully alive and present in every moment. This is the promise of new life in Jesus – a slate wiped clean, a chance to start again. No longer are we slaves to our past. No longer are we consigned to repeat our actions, over and over, flinching from blows that no longer come.

Resurrection

I’m not about “the resurrection of the dead”. That line in the Nicene Creed I fumble over. I say it half heartedly. Maybe I do mean it, but not in the way that it is meant. I’m not really interested in dead people coming back to life, but people who are already alive being really alive, being fully present, being intentional about their lives.

I think this is much more meaningful than the idea of the Resurrection that is currently sold to us.

The current idea of the Resurrection is concerned with a future that we can’t see. We can’t know when it is going to happen. And it doesn’t make for any real changes now. The current idea of the Resurrection is something so far out there that it sounds like science fiction.

Maybe it is possible. Maybe it will happen. But how does that make the world better now?

Sure, I believe in it, in the same way that I believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, and that he walked on water. I believe it because it doesn’t hurt to believe it, and because I was told it by people who mean well. I believe it because it is there, as part of my faith structure.

But I’m more mystical. I dig further. I dig deeper. I start to wonder how far this idea can go, because God is quantum. God has revealed things to me to be far bigger than I ever imagined. When God says something is going to happen and it does, it is always more surprising and amazing and complete than my little head can grasp.

I believe in a resurrection of the dead right now, right here. I believe in a God who wakes us up to our calling, who fills us, who animates us. I believe in a God who created the world and filled it with all sorts of living things, and who does the same for us. I believe in a God who loves us and calls us and wants us to be active participants in this world, who wants us to show love by being love.

I believe in a resurrection of the dead in the biggest sense. I believe that God is here, right now, and is on our side. I believe in letting others know that God is real and created each person because each person is needed and wanted. I believe in sharing the idea that nothing God made is an accident.

I believe in a God who is approachable by us, on our feet, faces upturned. There are too many stories of people who threw themselves to the ground when they were approached by God or God’s messengers – and they were repeatedly told not to do that. They were told to not be afraid.

I believe in a God who forgives us, who seeks us, who celebrates when we wake up to our full, true nature of being daughters and sons of God. I believe in a God who sees us all as equal, and wants us to do the same.

I believe in a resurrection of the spirit, right here, right now, no waiting.