Saturday, April 07, 2007


“Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but he is risen. Remember how he spoke to you while he was still in Galilee,…” (Luke 24:5b-6)

It is heartrending. Jesus gives up his last breath. Darkness falls on the land and the temple curtain tears into two. Later, they witness the body being laid in the tomb. They return with spices and perfume to embalm the body. Everything is over, the signs and wonders, the wise teachings and knowledge, the passion of the Rabbi. Life goes on. Some went back fishing, others went back to their normal livelihood, working, observing the law and maintaining the customary expectations of society. The women were the first to find out. What they found was not what they expected. Sobbing with tears, they ask: ‘Where is my lord?’ The question is very telling. So is the reply. “Why do you seek the living One among the dead?” Jesus came to seek the (spiritually) dead in order to give life to them. In contrast, the people went to seek the living among the dead, thinking Jesus is dead like everyone else.

The picture on the top-left contains 16 arbitrary shades of various colours. Each shade represents a phase in the life of a busy urban person. We begin from the bottom left and move diagonally towards the top-right. Note that there is only one tiny corner that is pure white. Think about all the colours as follows: Educational pursuits (homework, primary, secondary, pre-university, university, post-graduate, upgrading classes, training courses, Sunday school); Career pursuits (promotion, salary, long hours); Social life (charity meetings, giving of time to church, caregiving for people, meeting with friends); activities galore..

Observe how the shades are efficiently pasted one after the other without any white space in between. Is this a representation of our splendid ability to piece our own lives together, like time management experts who try to corner the clock, or ‘yin-yang’ balancing specialists in our different aspects of our lives between family-church-work-friends etc? We are highly efficient in everything we do. We know how to consume all available spaces in our lives with ‘constructive’ activities. Even spiritual disciplines can be turned into activities that need to be done in order to become more ‘spiritual’. The demarcation line between our identity and our activity has become so blurred until the saying: “I do, so I am” is more reflective than “I am.” We become insecure when we are NOT doing things. Is that a reason why people pray less, and over-perform “faith without works is dead”?

It is because of that constant focus on the need to “do things”, that we become spiritually shaded. It is the overwhelming sense of insecurity that keeps us plowing away in toil, to look for meaning in life among the activities, that at times seem ’dead’. What does it mean to be secure in Christ? It is in right believing. Faith in the risen Christ is the truth that will set us free. Many live in a society that is afraid of empty space, like the women who panicked when they saw an empty tomb. We can comb through life oblivious to God speaking to us, like the two men on the road to Emmaus, who were unaware that it was Jesus who was explaining the Scriptures to them the whole time. We can live like doubting Thomases, that unless we feel Jesus’s wounds, we will not believe. Are we guilty of looking for the living Saviour in our activities, which will one day mean nothing to people? I look at the obituary page and see a photo, and the name of the deceased. Past accomplishments were absent. Instead there are names of loved ones, the family members and a Bible verse. Where are the PhDs or tertiary degrees? What happened to the career highlights? Where are the achievements? But sorry. There is not enough space in the obituary page, even on the tombstone for all those. Isn’t it sad, when there is insufficient space when one is living and also when one is dead? Have we given ourselves space to live meaningfully when we are alive? Have we provided enough space for others to remember us, for the glory of God? What if they too are excessively busy, like we are? What if they too, are looking for the living one among the dead? No time to think, no time to relax, no time to do what we have always wanted to realize. Simply not enough time. (Will there ever be enough?)

  • We need to give ourselves space to be ourselves.
  • We need to give one another enough space to relax and contemplate whether the things that we do, is a veiled attempt to look for the ‘living’ among the ‘dead’ activities.
  • We need to give space for one another to make and space to recover, when a mistake is made. (Living a life that is fearful of making mistakes is tragic.)
  • We need to give ourselves space to be the person God has created us to be.
  • We need to give ourselves space to remember that Christ has risen.
  • We need to give one another space, to look for God in the risen Christ.

Brothers and sisters, let us give one another space to live, to ask, to knock, to find Christ not in the security of busy activities but in the eternal Rock, our living Christ, who has died, is risen and will surely come again. Whatever ‘white space’, that we currently have in our lives, make that space sacred, and may God shine his rainbow of hope to brighten your future.

In Jesus we hope, my space for Him!

Kian Seng (Resurrection Sunday, 8 April 2007)

1 comment:

Matt said...

Amen brother. What a wonderful meditation for me to read this Resurrection Sunday evening. Thanks for that Conrade!


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