Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ!Philippians 1:27
A few days ago I had the privilege of attending a webinar featuring world-renowned columnist and commentator David Brooks. Brooks and his wife, writer Anne Snyder, talked about the state of philanthropy in America. A foundation I write for had asked me to review the event, and I listened to a lot of great material worth further reflection.
Today, as we celebrate the beautiful gift of resurrection and redemption, I want to highlight a story Brooks shared that didn’t make it into my article. But it has a lot to say about Easter, and I want you to not only listen closely but also to share on any platform you may engage with.
It is a story about redemption. And, like singer Bob Marley, at the heart of my writing, “All I ever have… redemption songs.”
“Succeeding at life”
Brooks interviewed a man who had been in Sri Lanka at the time of the 2004 tsunami, having travelled there on vacation with a woman. One evening the couple realized their romance was over, and the man had this deep and overwhelming conviction – or fear – that he would never know real love. That revelation made him extremely sad.
The next day the tsunami hit, and a couple he had struck up a friendship with lost their young daughter when the tidal wave destroyed the resort. The event – beyond catastrophic – was heartbreaking on every level.
Over the next couple of weeks, while help poured in and survivors tried to assess their situations and begin to move forward, the man Brooks interviewed watched the young couple deal with their devastating loss.
The woman, it seems, essentially lost her will to live. Her husband, in response, completely devoted himself to his wife and her recovery, to loving her unconditionally, to her moment by moment survival, and to any potential toehold in terms of healing – embracing and encouraging even the smallest fraction of an iota of hope.
The man told David Brooks that the struggle he witnessed in this couple – the teetering balance between life and death, between hope and giving up altogether, between possibility and futility, between loss and the promise of tomorrow – gave him a firm belief that real love was indeed possible. “There is nothing more beautiful than real love in action,” he said. “And if I need to succeed at one thing before I die, it is to love.”
We are like that woman, teetering on the edge of the abyss. Jesus is the man completely devoted, overflowing with love and willing to give everything – just to offer that spark of hope, one ounce of promise.
Jesus came to this Earth, he poured himself out in a unique generosity of spirit, he went to the cross, and he defeated death on every level, for one simple purpose. He wants all of us, every last one of us, to succeed at this one thing before we die. Jesus wants us to succeed at love.
Jesus wants us to believe enough that we have the opportunity to live.
Jesus came so that each and every one of us would have this clear invitation to look life in the face – and death too – and to choose, unequivocally, to live like we mean it.
Jesus succeeded at love. Jesus succeeded at living. Jesus also succeeded at death, in order that we – in order that you – would have the opportunity to actually live, to truly love. In a word, to succeed.
This is the message of Easter morning! The message is that Jesus wants us to live too.
So what is stopping us?
He is risen!!!!!! – Derek