Saturday, April 11, 2009


While the main message of this day, Lazarus Saturday is that Jesus will come back from the dead and that he will raise all the dead, there is another idea in this feast that comes to my mind: There are limits.

God is the biggest limiter. He sets the bounds of the sea, he sets the stars in their courses, he establishes seasons, and dictates the behaviors of animals. His interactions with us are limiting, too. He delayed in going to see his friend Lazarus, and Lazarus died. By waiting he put a limit on the life span of Lazarus. Of course, he raised Lazarus from the dead on the fourth day, but he did not raise everyone. Jesus didn't say, "All of you in that tomb, come forth." No. He said "Lazarus, come forth." And only Lazarus breathed again. Imagine if Jesus had raised everyone in that tomb. Were there men in that tomb who's surviving wives had re-married? Were there children in there who had they been raised would have faced lives as orphans?

While it it is true that "with God all things are possible" it is not true that all things are certain, or even probable. He puts limits on His creation. "Thus far and no farther. Here your proud waves stop" God said to the sea.

This in not a bad thing. Think of the limits parents put on children, that marriage puts on spouses, that speed limits put on drivers. The limits protect life.

While not particularly Christian, there is an essay on the Acton Institute's wbsite that deals with popular culture, limits, and why they are necessary for civilization and individual happiness.

For the past several decades, American popular culture has frequently promulgated an idea central to modern liberalism: the idea of a life without limits, that we can have everything we want with out having to make hard choices. That assumption is especially evident in Walt Disney movies, and not only in recent ones. Fortunately, the makers of some pop culture products see the absurdity and danger of that notion. (Read the whole thing here.)

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