Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dead Man Walking

“Dead man walking.” That is the phrase shouted as prisoners in the movie The Green Mile are led to their execution. In the gospels Jesus calls us to pick up our cross daily and to lose our life (Luke 9:23, 24). When I read those haunting words of Jesus I think about The Green Mile, I think about the reality that I have given my life away, as Paul says in Galatians 2:20 “I no longer live.” When we cling to Christ we become dead men/women walking. But why must we die?

Dying changes everything. If you knew that your life would cease by the week’s end that would change everything. For the first time you would truly see the cheapness of money, wealth, success, possessions, and status. Henri Nouwen in Reaching Out says that we all subconsciously are living with the false assumption that we are immortal. Even though we all admit we will die, we truly do not believe or comprehend its meaning. In fact, we build our lives up to avoid the thought or reality of death.

However, if we are brave enough to face our death we become free. If we can confront our own mortality we see the passing purposeless in this world’s treasures. If you knew you were dying soon you would not be so tight fisted with your money, you would not invest so much in office politics, you would not compromise your character for promotion, and you would be free from the world’s temptations because you would know that you were soon leaving it all behind.

Jesus calls us to lose our life so that we too may be free of this world’s temptations. We are called to be dead men/women walking. We are called to be free to pursuing nothing else but God’s Kingdom and his righteousness (Matt. 6:33). We become free to keep our mind on things above (col. 3:2), we are free to pour love, grace, mercy, and generosity on our neighbors, and we become free to worship God without restraint.

Too many times we want to preserve our life, but that simply imprisons us and prevents us to be free.

Take up your cross. May people see your faith and proclaim “dead man/woman walking” may everything change because you have died, and rose again in Christ Jesus our Lord!

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