In the early 1980’s I enjoyed watching two self-stereotyping, Canadian brother sit-com characters (Bob & Doug MacKenzie), who would yodel a ridiculous call while swigging down a Labatt’s or a Molson: “Coo-Roo-Coo-Coo- Coo-Coo- Coo-Coo.” Sometime during their drunken discourse, when they disagreed or were angry, they’d yell “Take off, eh!” They even had a hit song called Take Off To The Great White North.
As I reflect on my own faith and maybe try to help others understand why I love Jesus so much, I might change Bob & Doug’s saying from “Take Off!” to “Take Up!”
It is the powerful resurrection of Jesus that is the cause of my own resurrection from a life of addiction and self-destruction. If Jesus hadn’t laid down His life for mine and then take it up again, I would be lost forever. “Jesus said, ‘The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again’” (Jn 10:17-18).
In the midst of my deepest pain, as one who was physically lame, spiritually broken, and emotionally paralyzed, Jesus came to grant me my greatest desire: to be healed, to be whole again. “Jesus said, ‘I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.’ So he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Arise, and take up your mat, and go your way into your house.’ He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all” (Mk 2:10-12a).
Restored and empowered by the Spirit of the Living God, raised from the dead by the Father and living a new life in Christ I can now begin to work with others to be healed as well. Because I know that God has given me resurrection power, I can lay down my life for others. “Then [Jesus] said to them all: Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me’” (Lk 9:23).
This is not an easy life. It is not a walk in the park. It is hard work. There are pitfalls and disappointments all along the way. God’s people have enemies who do not want us to enjoy resurrected life or share the Good News with others. So God challenges us to “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ep 6:16).
Take up your resurrection, take up your healing, take up your faith and live, really live. Take up, not to the Great White North, but take up into the heavenly realms where we are seated with the Son of God to live His grace-filled life and do His wonderful will.
© Paul Dordal, 2014