Rolling Stones

“When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.” (Luke 27:57-61 NRSV)

I’m always curious about the way Christian movies tend to depict stories from the Bible. To be sure the Bible frequently fills in a lot of detail, but also leaves us a lot of room for creative license. The scene in so many movies where the “great stone” at the door of the tomb gets rolled away are always the biggest scenes. Thunder and lightning and angels and terrified guards are always present. It’s an epic moment to be sure! I mean, the stone in front of the tomb is the signifier of death, and when that gets rolled away, death literally loses it’s sting.

Last week we talked about how in order to be resurrected, there are going to have to be parts of us that die. Again, maybe not the most cheery subject to be sure, but I think I know why. Sometimes in our lives when pieces of ourselves die, we make sure their dead by rolling big stones in our way to make sure that death is permanent. Let me give you an example from my own life:

There were times when I was growing up into a young professional that friends, colleagues, leaders, and bosses would tell me how I could be doing the job better. Maybe I was dressing poorly to be at a meeting. Maybe I was a little too focused on the wrong things. Maybe I needed to adjust my attitude toward others. Whatever the case would be, I wanted to get to be a professional, and my friends knew that to do that I would have to allow those parts of me to die.

In those moments I seemed to have a choice in reaction. The first (and most frequent) reaction from me was often bitterness and anger. How dare this person suggest that I’m not professional! How dare they tell me how to dress, or behave, or speak! I’m going to keep doing things my way! To have those kinds of reactions to useful suggestions from folks was essentially to roll a GIANT stone in my own way. A part of me had to die, and I was putting a giant obstacle in the way of my own resurrection. When I was at my best, I saw their suggestions for what they were, as an attempt to make me better. Now I actually solicit that kind of advice. I want to be better, and I’d really rather there not be any stones in my way.

That’s just one example. Sometimes the stones in our way can be success, or maybe money, or maybe ego. Whatever they are, these stones are the obstacles that stand between us and the new life that Jesus is calling us to lead. So maybe it should be a big deal when they get rolled away. Maybe it should be a big deal when we see the obstacles for what they are. Maybe they should come with a little extra fanfare and celebration. Because on the other side of the stone, we see resurrection. On the other side of the stone, we see new life.

Next week: How to Be A Hero Even When You Loose The Race

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