LONSBERRY: It happened while they slept

It happened while they slept.

In the darkness of the second night, at peace in their homes. It happened while they slept.

In the borrowed tomb there happened first what will yet happen countless times. A victory over the absolute, a working of the impossible, a reflickering of life. And he who was pierced and hanged stirred irresistibly alive.

For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

And while they slept he did what he had been born to do. Half mortal, half god he succumbed like his mother and rose like his father.

And when they awoke and visited they found his burial clothes folded neatly, no longer needed, on the stone where he had lain. The tomb was empty, as they all one day shall be.

Why seek ye the living among the dead?

And little did they realize in the wonder of the moment that it was they who were different, they and their kin through all generations, still subject to death but no longer its slave.

As we are no longer its slave.

It happened while they slept.

In the loneliness of Gethsemane, when he bled from every pore. It happened while they slept.

The disciples on the path and the world on its course, not knowing or comprehending, while their ransom is paid. The great and mysterious atonement, universal and inscrutable, wherein one pays the penalty for all, and the innocent absolves the guilty. The unjust are freed by the just.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world: but that the world through him might be saved.

In a dusty land in the corner of nowhere in an era otherwise unremarkable, one night amidst the olives the sacrifice was made, and every moment of human life was given possibility and an escape from the burden of sin. It began with the pain and progressed through the humiliation and ended on the cross, the fulcrum upon which the universe turns.

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ the Lord.

There are two deaths: one physical, and one spiritual. One is the loss of mortal life, the other is the loss of eternal life. We lay down our body, and we lay down the privilege of returning to God.

And both were subjugated a couple of thousand years ago by a humble messiah who walked the earth he created and spilt his blood into its dust, the dust from whence we are made and to which we must return.

It happened while they slept.

Life's short day was spent and their labor was undone. It happened while they slept.

The choices and attitudes and appetites of life run out like a race, each day passing into the next, faster and faster, and then it ends. It just ends. And the baggage of it all is a weight that drowns. 

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

But if we don't, it doesn't.

And for many of us, it doesn't. For me, particularly, it doesn't. Because it is one thing to be a hearer of the word and another to be a doer, and too many days end with wrong choices made and evil chosen over good. Sometimes small and sometimes large but mostly the free gift of salvation remains untouched where he left it.

In the rush to attend to life's minutia, we never get to its purpose, we delay the day of repentance until it is finally too late.

It happened while they slept.

The atonement, the resurrection, the working out of his plan. Then and now and until the end of time. They slept and he went on.

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

But it is not an automatic salvation. Nor is it an easy one, gained by the muttering of words or the recitation of dogma. It is gained by faith and obedience, by taking Christ into your heart and into your actions, one meaningless without the other.

It is gained by repentance, by sorrow for sin and an abandoning of it, by turning aside the natural man and the natural world, by placing your hope in another, better way. 

If ye love me, keep my commandments.

God laid a plan at the dawn of the eternities, a plan of redemption and exaltation, and he sent his son as the keystone of that plan, the part without which no other part could work. And today that plan marches on as it is intended, like it did in Gethsemane, and in the borrowed tomb.

The only question is, do we march with it?

Do we follow, or do we fall out? Do we pray, or do we prey? Do we know Christ, or do we not?

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Are we awake?

Or are we asleep?

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