When I first heard this lyric in the Rolling Stones’ Start Me Up I was a teenager who had gone to church all her life and been educated in a Christian school. Naturally to me this line evoked visions of Jesus calling “Lazarus, come forth!” Dead man…coming. That’s what it meant to me until well into adulthood when I happened to hear the song in the car and had one of those “A-ha!” moments. Clearly the Stones weren’t speaking of resurrection.
Even now, however, that song first makes me think of Jesus and Lazarus instead of its obviously creepy sexual meaning. Whenever someone mentions resurrection of anybody other than Jesus I think of this song. And so it was that upon listening to Mike Duran‘s videoblog on Sunday evening I got Start Me Up playing in my brain.
Mike wants to know why Christians don’t pray for resurrection since God is obviously capable of it.
Why would we pray for resurrection of the dead? Seriously. I was at my beloved grandmother’s funeral six months ago. It never once occurred to me to ask God to send her back here. That would be like asking God to burn down Chicago again. My grandmother’s journey sent her through that door. She went to be with her beloved husband of more than half a century, with the parents she missed every day and most of all she went to see face-to-face the Jesus Christ she’d served her entire life. Why would I ask to have her come back from that to the world where she was blind, unable to walk, couldn’t remember what day it was? Sure it’d be a neat trick to say “look here at what God can do” but there is no kindness in it for the departed.
One of the most troubling aspects about Christianity is the snake-handling. We humans get excited about the ideas of what limitless things God can accomplish but then it so often turns down the cul-de-sac of ill-advised things done in the name of Christ for the actual purpose of self-satisfaction. I see it happening whenever trends hit the Church. Right now one of the more alarming trends is the fervor for international adoption. It’s a life-changing action with serious consequences for numerous people, yet there are several who get caught up in the God-sounding of it and jump without thinking things through. Then they get bitten and the venom courses through the body. I’m not against adoption across the board. In many cases I think it is a wonderful solution for many individuals. But I do see a difference between the prayerful consideration of devoting your life to a specific course of action and the Jesus-Cool-Take-Up-The-Snake me-tooism that ends up with people getting hurt.
We can ask God for anything but to me the real question is “why would you want to?” That’s the question that I asked myself when I finally realised the real meaning behind that Stones lyric and it’s the question I think a lot of people need to be asking themselves about other requests they place before God.