I was walking into my parents’ house, through the kitchen, passed my grandmother’s ancient piano, when I heard a hiss. Now normally, in a house with no pet snakes, this would come as a surprise. But not in a house with Frank the bird. Besides the annoying whistling, Frank has a habit of hissing at people walking past his cage. And it’s not a friendly “hello” hiss, it’s a “I’ll bite your finger off if you get too close” hiss. I’m beginning to agree with my brother-in-law: Frank may quite possibly be Satan’s evil spawn.
Despite my crazy, changing-ever-so-quickly life, there are some things in my world that do not change. Frank seems to be one of them. My high school basketball coach is another.
Earlier this week, I went to my old gym to watch a high school girls’ basketball game. The gym floor has been re-done. A girl other than me is wearing jersey #11. The concession stand isn’t selling caramel apple suckers. A lot has changed. But my high school basketball coach is not one of them. He still uses the same clipboard. He still yells in the timeouts as if the team is hard of hearing. And he still has no hair on his head.
It’s easy to be cynical in this life. It’s easy to shrug and say “that’s the way it’s always been.” It’s easy to expect that cranky neighbor to once again ignore your wave.
But what if there was something new, something different? What if the mold was broken? What if the bird was friendly? What if the coach had hair and a soft tone to his voice? What if the mundane routine was interrupted by an adventure? What if forgiveness flooded the bitter soul? What if the cranky neighbor not only waved, but smiled? What if life was more than expected?
Resurrection is talked about in the Bible a lot. In the gospel of John, Jesus talks about resurrection before He raises Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus’ sister tells Jesus she believes in life after death, the future hope of resurrection. But then Jesus Himself claims to be the Resurrection and the Life.
So this passage and another from 1 Peter have gotten me thinking about resurrection. We always think of dying first and then being resurrected, when Jesus comes again. But is it possible to experience resurrection before death? If Jesus claims to be the Resurrection, what does that mean for me today? Can today be different because of the hope of resurrection? Could resurrection change the way I live tomorrow?
Regeneration. Renewal. Restoration. Resurrection. Could these words be reality? Can I experience new life today? Can I break through the humdrum of today and experience something new? The way we answer these questions directly affects the way we treat others. If we live in expectation of a God who is Resurrection and Life, we can expect something different from people. There is hope and second chances for everyone.
Because like one of my Dove chocolate wrappers said, “Life does have do-overs.” Relationships can be restored. Weary souls can be renewed. Anger, bitterness, and hurt can be forgiven. Jesus has conquered death and the grave. He has made a way for us. And the stories in the Bible are collectively about God restoring creation back to the way it was intended to be. God can rebuild brokenness. He can rejuvenate the exhausted, redeem the sinner, and resurrect the dead.
I believe in resurrection. I believe in hope. I believe in new life.
So I’m going to sit by Frank’s cage, and teach him a new ditty to whistle. I’m going to give him treats on the rare occasions he doesn’t hiss at me. And someday, when my mom is gone at work, I’m going to open Frank’s cage and let him fly around the house.