Saturday 3 September 2011

On Being Lazarus by Fred Pruitt

   Voice In the Wilderness
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One way or another people fall and are ground to powder on the issue of some sort of personal responsibility. There’s a great temptation to add to the phrase — “You ARE One with Christ IN THIS PRESENT MOMENT” — a set of if-clauses, degrees, stipulations and qualifications to be met in order to experience what we acknowledge that we already are. Over and over people desire something that can be quantifed, measured and predicted, based on observable data, rather than a wind that blows where it will.
Sounds like a mental challenge, but of course the answer isn’t in the mind but in the heart and in love.
Now I find love to be this. That I find myself when I have become as Lazarus, who died of a disease or a fever, perhaps caused by his own negligence, we don’t know, except that we know he didn’t die willingly, but nonetheless he found himself dead, wrapped in graveclothes, stinking in a tomb. He didn’t want to die. He fought with everything within him not to. He even kept calling for Jesus, but Jesus never showed up. So must Lazarus have finally slipped, unwillingly but with no strength to resist, into death. And into silence. And into darkness. And into unknowing.
And then out of nothing a Light came into the darkness followed by a Familiar Voice and within it was a COMMAND, “Lazarus, COME FORTH!”
Even as Ezekiel’s knees weakened and he couldn’t stand before the vision of the Almighty, and the Spirit entered into him and said, “Son of man, stand upright on thy feet,” even energizing him in the Word, in that same manner Lazarus was raised up, not by anything he did or cooperated with. (He’d quit everything!) But, when the Light came followed by that VOICE, what could he do but rise up off his slab, and walk blindly toward the Light?
Meister Eckhart said you become so poor you have no place left even for God. Dead as Lazarus, and as unable to help ourselves in any way.
That’s when the Light comes. When they roll away the door, shining the Light into the Darkness. Then comes the VOICE, THE WORD, and it says, to our UTTER surprise if we are even conscious at this point, “COME FORTH!”
“Why?” we might ask. “Look, I’ve gotten myself dead. I screwed up. I don’t know anything. I don’t deserve to rise up.”
But the command is too powerful to resist, and still blinded by the napkin covering our face, we come to the door of the tomb and we know it’s Christ Jesus who has called us, our Dear Friend, and He tells them to take away the veil, so that we can see Him Fully, and to take off our graveclothes and give us our Freedom.
I think this is a parable of humanity, because this is something I am intimate with. I understand Lazarus’ plight, and have lived it. It’s my personal truth.
That’s why I say the WHOLE IS TRUE NOW, and say to anyone to speak in faith, and what you take in faith you can count on in the present moment as something (a substance) which is really there, even though not seen yet. I’ll say that again — what you see in faith is what is REALLY there, though it is invisible to the outward eye. We have it confused sometimes as to what is real. What we are given in inward faith is what is real, even if every outer thing shouts against it. “Yea, let God be true and every man a liar.”
It’s hard at that point. You’ve been called to build an ark, or whatever, and you see it and know it, though at times you certainly doubt it, and you know what you’re about, but it hurts, too, that nobody else sees it and they’re all laughing and joking at your expense. “He trusted in God — let’s see if He will deliver Him. If you are the Christ, come down from that cross. Save yourself!”
In our case to “save ourselves” would be to assent to the voice of man or devil and to deny the Almighty, by agreeing with the mulititude that we were wrong, we haven’t heard from God, they’re right about me, this whole ark business was a bunch of baloney, and certainly certainly I’m not Christ living in me in my humanity, manifesting in my flesh — yet — but one day I’ll get there.
Nobody really minds if we’re going to grow into Christ in the future. That’s great, everybody agrees. How admirable! But just don’t say that “TODAY is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”
No, that causes the hometown folks to go into a frenzy for some reason. “That’s Joe & Mary’s boy, the carpenter. What’s he sayin’?” “How could he be the Messiah, he’s just like us? We know him.” “Let’s git ‘im!!!”
What I AM saying is that your Oneness is complete (how could oneness not be complete? — it’s oneness!!!), your captivity is over, the Land is yours.
“But,” someone would respond, “I still have levels of knowledge to attain to, I have many things still wrong with me, I still have bad habits, I can’t control my temper, so I’m out as a candidate for being one with Christ in the present moment. Sorry, that’s a nice concept, but there’s still so much in the way and lots of work to do and lots of spots to clear up in my seeing and maybe one day in the future it will be.”
My “but” is, “TODAY is this scripture fulfilled in your hearing.”
TODAY the ALL-THE-WAY-GOD dwells all-the-way in You.
Can you take that?
Believest thou this?
Some can answer in honesty, “No, I don’t believe that.”
But what do YOU say?
from Zefirelli : Jesus of Nazareth - Raising Lazarus

TODAY HE calls out, “COME FORTH,” 
and then He enters into you and sits you up in your death-clothes
and by His Spirit He walks you toward the light,
since you’re still groggy from waking from a DEEEEP sleep,
and into the Darkness the White Brilliance of the Sun suddenly POURS
like an ocean filling the chamber, and nothing but Joy is rushing through your veins,
nothing but hope re-found 
and vision renewed fills your mind, 
even though you still can’t see, 
but there at the door of the tomb,
the crossover mark between life and death, 
when you emerge from death, 
at the threshold of the tomb,
they remove your shroud and your blindfold 
and you can SEE,
and the first thing you see is the Lord Jesus, 
who is grinning from ear to ear because He understands,
and you understand, too, from the depths of the earth,
from the foundation of eternity, 
that we are in Him, 
thought of, 
died for,
and in all that there has never been more than one person, 
and when we all wake up fully we will all be
just one person and yet ourselves.
Today we are One with the Father through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Today always is. Past, present, future.
Everything in your universe is redeemed and reconciled,
and now You rise and being full, you spill over your bounty, 
and all the place around you becomes as a watered garden,
and is lush in the fulness of green and brilliant colors that are blinding in the sun.
Believest thou this?

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