Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Everything's (Back to) Right

"You don't have to worry! It's all been taken care of for those who belong to Jesus" Romans 8:1 (RSV)

If you have ever spoken with me about movies, you know two things: 1.) I love them. And 2.) Big Fish is my all time, unquestioned, winner and still champion favorite. If you don’t like this movie, you’re dumb. Ok, that may have been a bit harsh. Anyway, near the end of the movie Will Bloom makes this statement in reference to his father’s tales,

“Have you ever heard a joke so many times you've forgotten why it's funny? And then you hear it again and suddenly it's new. You remember why you loved it in the first place.”

We all have, right? It may be a joke, a story, a quote, anything really. Something that once was so clear, returns to us again. Maybe even sometimes, there is an epiphany- some new discovery that allows you to understand it in a new way. Some new facet you were never quite able to see before.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that what I’m about to propose is a stretch. That my head got a little creative on this one. And yet, it is my blog, so I am going to continue.

Second to movies in my opinion is music. I guess what appeals me to both is the core element they share. Whether it is an Oscar winning performance or a Grammy nominated masterpiece, most of these art forms engage the oldest human metaphor; story. It’s why we enjoy the Redemption from Shawkshank, or understand the heartache as every country singer loses his dog, his truck, and his girl; in the same song no less! Story enables us to identify with others. It connects us like nothing else can.

A few months back, I was made aware of Matt Wertz’s song “Everything’s Right.” (You can hear it at this link: I enjoyed it when I first heard it. Two incredible people actually introduced it to me around the same time. And when two incredible people recommend the same thing, you gotta take heed. And so over the past several months I have continued to listen to it. Sometimes intentionally, and other times ‘Shuffle All’ happens to find it.

It was the other day though, that it’s chorus (as simple as it is) and the second verse shone to me in a completely new way. I’ll be the first to admit that this is ‘out there.’ That based on the lyrics it is pretty clear that Mr. Wertz is singing about a girl. But because I heard it while writing the last piece about humanity, it drew me to the resurrection.

Here’s the chorus, it’s pretty simple:

‘Hey, everything's right, said everything's right tonight
Hey, everything's right, said everything's right tonight’

Did I lie? Pretty basic. But as I look at John’s gospel (20) it seems to be the resounding message we get as the Messiah appears to his disciples. As he enters the room the first thing he says (twice actually) is “Peace be with you!” This isn’t a chaotic moment for Jesus. The fact that he desires, no demands peace is the first sign that things are good. He goes on to show them his hands and his side. Can you imagine?!?! Your leader, your friend, your GOD whom you thought was dead has just resurrected and he is in the room with you. You better believe everything’s right!

Wertz’s second verse is what I imagine happens that we aren’t told in this text of John’s. Wertz’s lyrics continue,

‘Smiles light up as we walk in
Old conversations begin again
Nostalgia's thick as the August air
It takes us back to a time when we didn't care, we didn't care’

I imagine the disciples sitting there with Jesus; laughing, joking, sharing. Reminiscing stories from their previous times together, it reunites them to a time where they simply enjoyed the presence of each other. Can’t you see it? James says while chuckling, “Hey Peter, remember that time you walked on the water?! And then fell!” Still others recall other incredible accounts, “Yeah, and remember when 5,000 ate from 2 fish and five loaves.” And still others ask questions. “Jesus, how on earth did you just put that guard’s ear back on?!” Things were back to right, back to the way they were before, back to the way they should be.

But it’s more than just this. There is a minor detail in this passage that can easily get looked over. One that allows us to see that Everything is (more than) Right. As a matter of fact, everything is put back to rights!

In verse twenty-two, Jesus does something a bit odd; at least to the untrained eye. It says, “And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” What? When I have read this passage in the past I am drawn to the obvious-the gift of the Holy Spirit. And yet I cannot help but wonder why it is necessary for Jesus to breathe on them. Has he found a new toothpaste he is recommending? Is he trying to make his friends squirm because he’s just had a bit too much decaf? And while I don’t mean to mock this in any way, it really is an interesting note John includes.

Unless of course we head back to Genesis. What does God do to bring man into being? He breathes the breath of life into him. It is what separates man from all other creation. It seems here Jesus is making an immediate parallel. He is drawing them, us back to the Garden. In this action, Jesus is saying, Everything’s (back to) Right. Where Adam failed, I have conquered. The powers that you have struggled against for so long have been defeated. You have been set free to live as you were originally designed to.

Although I don’t think it happened, I can picture Jesus sitting there amongst his disciples, whispering a chorus that had been in the works from day one…

‘Hey, everything's right, said everything's right tonight
Hey, everything's right, said everything's right tonight’

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