(From my hospital Easter sermon.)
“Everything happens for a reason.”
I hear that almost every day. As we try to make sense of diagnoses and traumas and decisions and events, we say, “everything happens for a reason.” When we survive the thing that could have taken us, we say “God must have a reason for me still being here.”
I usually refrain from asking, “what do you think the reason is?” Mostly because that is a very hard question to answer, and it’s one that I don’t think any of us can answer completely. Not about any one event in our lives.
We can try. We can blame not attending church, so whatever is happening must be punishment. We can blame other people, with their attacks or their insensitivity or their unwillingness to step up. We can blame diet, we can blame bad habits, we can blame ourselves, but we usually don’t. We can look for hope in other lives that are changed, other people that may learn from our good or bad choices. But I still don’t think we know enough to know the reason.
When Jesus was asked about his own death, he was pretty clear about a reason. “I have come that you might have life and having it more abundantly.” That’s what he said. “I have come to seek and save the lost.” That’s what he said. “Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies it remains one seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” That’s what he said.
Jesus was born and lived and died and was raised to life for a reason. Our relationship with God.
We have individually and all together chosen to follow our own desires and not God’s. Every one of us has turned to his or her own way. And the result is chaos. The result is that we tromp all over each other. The result is that we are each our own god. And in a world with billions of gods, billions of people get lost. And hurt. And broken. And meaningless.
There is something in us that is made to connect to something outside us. Left to ourselves, we cannot find it. And we wander, from person to person, from idea to idea.
And we try to connect with some god, with some meaning.
On Easter, it is worth considering what Jesus said: He came to offer life.