When I was a teaching pastor at Fellowship of the Parks, I was often referred to as “the avocado guy.” I’d be talking to someone and they would say, “Oh yeah! You’re the avocado guy!”
During my first year at the church, I preached a sermon in which I brought a bowl full of avocados onstage with me and told about a kid I met whose job it was to make table-side guacamole at Fresco’s Mexican restaurant.
The point was that the avocado--while it is attached to the vine--is alive. However, when an avocado is removed from its life source, it starts to die. But in the process of the avocado dying, it is eaten by a person (me) and fills my body with nourishment that keeps me alive.*
Basically, for me to live, the avocado must die.
New life often begins as a death.
The Christian faith, while wildly misrepresented in so much of American culture, is really about death and resurrection. It’s about how God continues to reach into the graves we dig for ourselves and pull us out, giving us new life, in ways both dramatic and small…. It’s about spiritual physics. Something has to die for something new to live (p. xviii).
All of the great moments of resurrection life have been preceded by moments of death.
That’s the thing about resurrection; it always requires a death.
Perhaps you’re experiencing some kind of personal, specific death in your own life.
A relationship that was broken that may or may not ever be put back together again.
A way of seeing the world or God or faith that no longer seems consistent with your own life experiences.
A level of trust you once had for others but were betrayed, and now you don’t know if you will ever have faith in another human being again.
A sudden—and perhaps unwanted—change in your job or career that has forced you to ask all kinds of questions about your own personal calling and purpose in the world.
Each of these things is a kind of a death, and death is painful and scary.
However, resurrection can only happen if there is first a death, and resurrection rarely looks the way we expect it to.
Resurrection rarely means that things go back to normal. On the contrary, it almost always points to something new and unexpected and original.
If you currently are undergoing a kind of death in your own life, and you are in the midst of despair, may you live in hope of restoration and new life.
May you learn to see resurrection in the world around you.
May you let the avocado die so that you can experience something new and beautiful.
What do you think? Have you ever gone through a kind of metaphorical "death" only to later experience a resurrection?
(*Thanks to Rob Bell for this metaphor in the Nooma video “Tomato.”)