So, a couple months ago, in the cold, snowy winter, I watched Samuel Keller's fish for him while he and his family were away. Fish are low maintenance... or so I thought. How hard could it be? Kim brought Gill to work in a travel-sized container, along with his food, water drops, and larger tank. When I left work, I gathered up Gill and we both drove home in the snowy, cold weather. When I got home, I prepared his larger tank, and plopped him in. He looked momentarily energized. Then he pretty much looked like he was dead. I was so certain that I had killed dear Gill, that I sent Kim a text letting her know what was likely going to occur. Pastor Celia had killed Samuel's fish. Oy. I prayed he would live and I slept on my couch, near Gill, so that at least I could tell dear Samuel that his fish did not die alone.
But... wonder of wonders... Gill lived! I nicknamed him Lazzy, after Lazarus. I was so happy. So surprised. In fact, Gill stayed with me several days and each morning, to be perfectly honest, when I saw him alive, I was just as surprised as the morning before. I have since come to believe that perhaps dear Gill-Lazzy always looks and acts...well... not in any kind of lively manner what-so-ever.
I was so excited and relieved. And, let's face it, that was for a fish, who only seemed like he might die and then didn't. I cannot imagine the excitement of Lazarus and his friends and family when he was raised from the dead. Nor can I imagine the excitement of Mary and Mary (in Matthew 28) as they discovered Jesus was risen. Jesus... whom they had seen crucified. Jesus... who was buried. Jesus... their friend. Jesus... Savior of all.
In Matthew 28, the Angel of the Lord appears to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. They are told to not be afraid. To come and see. To go quickly. To tell. Jesus' instructions to us echoes this. What I love is that in the midst of their obedience to the instructions given to them, Jesus meets them. Much like Jesus does with all of us.
Wow. That's my summary. Wow. (Brilliant, huh?)
So... in light of this passage, how do we "pray it?" As we conclude this final week of the Up Now Son series, in the "PRAY IT" blog, we'll spend one final time looking at the passage from Ephesians 6:10-20, in conjunction with our passage from Matthew. Let's focus in on verse 10:
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
As we pray, we can be strong in the Lord who is who He says He is. We don't proclaim a Christ-Who-Almost-Kind-of-Died-But-Didn't, like Samuel's fish. We rejoice in our RISEN Lord, who overcame death, for us. Who wants a relationship with us. Who loves us. A lot.
As we pray, we pray for the same response as Mary and Mary: Let us pray that we are not afraid. (Leaning into Jesus with all we have can be scary...) Let us pray that we come and see (Walking with Jesus takes open eyes/ears/minds/hearts...it takes action on our part...) Let us pray that we go quickly (In whatever mission Jesus gives us, let's not dawdle. Let's just get to it. May our excitement get us moving!) Let us pray that we tell (Because why would we want to keep our awesome Jesus a secret???) And let us pray that in the midst of our obedience, Jesus continues to meet with us. (Because He will...)
Please help us draw near to you, and joyfully so. Please help calm any fears we may have about surrendering to you and letting you be Lord of our lives. Please help us stay open to all that you have for us, and to actively continue to pursue you daily. Please strengthen us as to not delay in our obedience, but to act quickly. Please help us radiate You from the inside out, and that people can see You in our words, in our actions, and in our lives. We love you Jesus. Help us love you even more.