Over and over, when I ask God why all of these injustices are allowed to exist in the world, I can feel the Spirit whisper to me, “You tell me hwy we allow this to happen. You are my body, my hands, my feet.”
We do indeed have a God of resurrection, a God who can create beauty from the messes we make of our world.
But beyond the miracles, what has lasting significance is love. We can do all sorts of miracles, but if we have not love, it is nothing.
After Mother Teresa died, I was in an interview with some reporter who asked me if Mother Teresa’s spirit will live on. I said, “To be honest, Mother Teresa died a long time aog, when she gave her life to Jesus. The joy and compassion and love that he world finds so magnetic are only Jesus, and that is eternal.”
I long for the Calcutta slums to meet the Chicago suburbs, for lepers to meet landowners and for each to see God’s image in the other. It’s no wonder that the footsteps of Jesus lead from the tax collectors to the lepers. I truly believe that when the poor meet the rich, riches will have no meaning. And when the rich meet the poor, we will see poverty come to an end.
The doors of normalcy and conformity are dead. The time has come to give up on the doors and find a window to climb through. It’s a little more dangerous and may get you into some trouble, but it is a heck of a lot more fun. And the people who have changed the world have always been the risk-takers who climb through windows while the rest of the world just walks in and out of doors.
And that’s when things get messy. When people begin moving beyond charity and toward justice and solidarity with the poor and oppressed, as Jesus did, they get in trouble. Once we are actually friends with folks in struggle, we start to ask why people are poor, which is never as popular as giving to charity… Charity wins awards and applause, but joining the poor gets you killed. People do not get crucified for charity. People are crucified for living out a love that disrupts the social order, that calls forth a new world. People are not crucified for helping poor people. People are crucified for joining them.
We need converts in the best sense of the word, people who are marked by the renewing of their minds and imaginations who no longer conform to the pattern that is destroying our world. Otherwise, we have only believers, and believers are a dime-a-dozen nowadays. What the world needs is people who believe so much in another world that they cannot help but begin enacting it now.
For even if the whole world believed in resurrection, little would change until we began to practice it. We can believe in CPR, but people will remain dead until someone breathes new life into them. And we can tell the world that there is life after death, but the world really seems to be wondering if there is life before death.