Life Cost So Much

Santa Semana--Holy Week--is a week to weigh costs. Fuel is nearly $3/gallon, unemployment at 9%…the $3 coffee that seemed nothing a year ago we now hesitate or pass on.  We feel the emptying of the bank account as we pay utility bills, mortgage, car…

But this is a week to consider the price tag on our right to be spiritually Alive.  The cost of life…of death.  This week, the worldwide family of Christian believers remember a purchase made on our behalf.

I think maybe we flinch a little at the idea of things done for us…honestly, don't we prefer independence, strength, self-reliance, self-sufficiency here?

Our default: I can do it! And our medicine: You can do it!

When I wrote “Life Cost So Much” I was not trying to be obscure.

But try to capture the Great Story in a few lines of lyric, and you see the problem…

I had been studying with our church “Two Ways to Live” and reading Tim Keller’s The Reason for God and also the book of Ezekial, and was providing music for a study on the basic tenants of the faith.  I just wanted to express some of these truths, to walk through the story in song.

And more people ask “What’s this one about?” than any other.  At the risk of saying too much, here is the place from which I wrote.

Death is easy, you don’t know you’re a ghost, The fee is taken out nice and slow…

It’s about the living dead, by which I mean humans who have not yet realized what we were born for, spend their days pursuing a sort of emptiness that does not sing.  In a way, a broad sketch of all human history, our childish insistence on wearing a crown not sized for our heads, certain we know better than our parent how to manage things.

Wisdom warned us but our flesh was strong…

It’s about Him telling us what we needed to know, giving what we needed for life from the beginning.   And us rejecting.

It’s the later part, the part where His children needed rescuing and He paid the debt we’d incurred by rejecting.

Life cost so much, life cost so much…

It’s the invisible Laws we have a hard time believing exist much less understanding, Mysteries that are before us and beyond us.  Things far more real than anything we’ve yet seen or experienced, and the true meaning of Justice, and the answer to I Deserve... .

Send us a king, send us our King…

It’s the late dawning desperation of humans everywhere through all time that oh, I do need what He said I needed.  I do need to come near, to listen, because nothing makes sense or means anything without Him in the picture.  I truly do not know how to be alive and be human apart from the Creator.

It’s about…the very tangible torment He opened Himself to repair the damage we’d done.  The great personal price He accepted to resurrect us.  How free is Grace?

Someone paid for the damage…

Tim Keller points out that if someone backs out of your drive, running into your gate and garden wall, there are real, actual damages that must be paid in order to restore the gate and wall. “Either you or he absorbs the cost for the deed, but the debt does not somehow vanish into thin air. Forgiveness, in this illustration, means bearing the cost for his misdeed yourself.”

And the Father told us all of it long ago.  He told us we were dead, reminded that dead people can’t raise themselves up.  That resurrection would be a critical heart of the plan.

Dry bones, breath breathed, open graves, dead brought to life, Lazarus, Christ himself, our own future…the imagery is pervasive and effective in Old and New Testaments.

Ezekial 37: They say, “Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.”  Therefore prophesy and say to them: I will bring you back to the land of Israel.  Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live

How else do you explain all these open graves we’ve got?

How do we explain it?  Joy in emptiness?  How do you explain the forgiveness of deep offenses?  Peace in tempest winds? How do we explain the always-returning green hope buds of this Life?

Someone must have paid…