I don’t know where you live but here in the metro Detroit area, there was common feeling about what felt like an uncommon winter. Although there have been winters with a lot more snow, it felt much more miserable than usual—even for myself. People who never struggled with seasonal depression did, and those of us who do struggle with seasonal depression found ourselves in a hole terribly difficult to dig out of—the remnants of which I’m still trying to shake off. It was a season not heavy in snow as it was in no sun and wet with ice and sleet. At least with snow, you have something sparkly to look at. It could easily be suggested that we entered this season, however, stressed already with the upheaval going on in our country and in the decay within our churches. In a sense, it has felt like a tomb that we have longed to escape from, to experience resurrection. It has been a dark spiritual season that manifested in a very physical way for many of us.
Though spring is dawning upon us, the core reason behind much of our own misery and stress I believe is that all our insecurities are set against a backdrop of an increasing awareness that our prized democracy is being threatened even while other countries are experiencing their first taste of it. With so much turnover at the White House, there is a sense that there are no guards guarding the storehouse. As Resurrection Sunday is around the corner once again, we have to wonder who will come and take off America’s grave clothes and say as Jesus said to his dead best friend, “Lazarus, come forth!”.
What many people have not talked about is that while all these people have left the White House, Trump has fulfilled another campaign promise. He has “drained the swamp” but put liars and vipers in their place. In many cases, no one in their place. He has done it very cleverly and slyly by taking staff recommended by the Republican establishment and then spitting them out through betrayal and public annihilation and a gross mishandling of his office to the point where people are leaving in droves.
The interesting thing about the Lazarus story is that once Jesus is said to have called Lazarus, he asks those around him to take off Lazarus’ grave clothes. You will see one guy in the pic above covering his nose because it no doubt smelled since Lazarus had already been dead a few days. Still, he asks them to remove these grave clothes. What good is a live body in a mummy outfit? It will be interesting to see us called forth as a country, to come out of sleep and death, to rise again and dispel the present evils that threaten our democracy. There is a stirring, people are clamoring on how to best make it happen and candidates are rising nearly every week for the upcoming election. It will be up to us to remove the grave clothes, and I think we are ready. I hope we are ready.
Richard Rohr in his book “Everything Belongs” states that there is no bigger threat to our transcendence as a humanity than the comfort and control we have at the level of consciousness we are presently at. Rohr would say God uses everything, even our sins. In this case, our sin as country. For as we point to Trump and blame him for his ways and means, we were complacent in fostering a system that created the Trumps of the world. We can’t point blame until we accept our part either through action and definitely through inaction. We have gotten distracted by money and gurus of money as well as exalting reality TV stars to the point that our government got bought and paid for by Wallstreet right under our noses. God is already using this sin. Trump and others like him have taken on a big political spotlight and that has mirrored back to us the sins of our country. It has exposed and given voice to what has been in hiding to us, the privileged. When you meet God, when God is on the scene, you see that you are not control. If we are learning one thing, it is this: we are becoming aware the enemy is here, in our country, not without. God is here, we are aware of a darkness we had not seen before, and feel out of control. Our grip on what we thought this country was is shaken. We wanted to believe the evil was in the hands of the Russians and though we know they meddled in our election, the real evil was magnified, exposed, right here among us. As the old saying goes “we found the enemy: the enemy is us”. The good news is God is loving and compassionate and is already using this to stir us, prepare us for our Resurrection. We are on a spiritual plane of darkness right now. We are in the tomb but in this tomb, we shall not abide. We are crying for a resurrection in our democracy. You can’t get what you don’t seek and ask for. I think our ask is loud and clear now. Not just a removal of one man but a whole system of corruption. But, we are asked to look at the mirror the universe is holding up to this country and own our sin. We can’t just finger point and mock and feel superior in our one-up-ship in pointing out others wrongs. We are here in the dark to own, to confess, repent and ultimately be reborn. Hopefully, you and I will be ready to heed the call when we hear, “America, come forth”. My guess… I think we will be.