I know it’s not Easter yet. Easter is still a few days away. Before Easter, we still have Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and Holy Saturday. We can’t just skip to Easter, bypassing all that led to Easter.
But, Easter is on my mind – probably because it’s the biggest day of the Christian year and I have a sermon to prepare.
Here’s what I’m pondering…
I don’t have any problem believing in Jesus’ resurrection. As unexpected as it was, and as impossible as it may seem, I do actually believe that Jesus died a human death, that his corpse lay in a tomb from Friday evening through early Sunday morning, and then his dead body came back to life – resurrected life!
Undeniably, that is a pretty remarkable thing to believe. But, I do. With all of my heart, I do.
I also don’t have a problem believing that because Jesus was resurrected, that he has made that possible for me. I mean, because Jesus died and came back to life – in a new, resurrected way – I will be raised after I die, too. I believe that. When I die – whenever that may be – and breathe my last breath, I believe I that I will awake to a new, resurrected life on the other side of death.
Undeniably, that, too, is a pretty remarkable thing to believe. But, I do. With all of my heart, I do.
But, here’s what’s on my mind this Holy Week about the Resurrection. The Bible doesn’t only say that Jesus rose from the dead (past tense), or that we will be resurrected after we die (future tense). The Bible says that we ARE resurrected (present tense). Now. Today.
“Therefore, if anyone IS in Christ,the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new IS here!” (2 Corinthians 2:17)
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but CHRIST LIVES IN ME. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
“Since, then, YOU HAVE BEEN RAISED with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life IS NOW hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3)
I HAVE been raised with Christ. I AM a new creation. My life IS NOW hidden Christ. CHRIST LIVES IN ME!
Present tense. Not just past tense. Not just future tense. Present tense. Resurrection is a present reality. I AM resurrected!
Is that really true (I know that it is)? I don’t always feel resurrected. I don’t look resurrected. The Lord knows, and everyone I know will confirm, I certainly don’t act resurrected. What does it mean for Vance Clifton Rains to be a resurrected human being, alive in Christ, today, in Coral Springs, Florida, at work, in my house, etc., etc.?
I certainly couldn’t ask such a question without Christ’s resurrection. And, this life is short, so my future resurrection from the dead is pretty exciting. But, increasingly, it seems to me that my current state of resurrection may be what’s most important.
If my future resurrection means that, on the other side of death, I will be completely free from this life of sin and selfishness, and that I will have perfect communion with God and God’s family, and that I will be a perfectly whole and unique reflection of God’s image in me, does my current state of resurrected-ness mean that I am to be those things now…
- free from sin and selfishness?
- in perfect communion with God and God’s family?
- a perfectly whole and unique reflection of God’s image in me?
Today? Is that what being resurrected, in the present tense, means? If not, what else?
This week, as I ponder Easter, I just keep coming back to wondering if we are missing the point. We (Church-going Christians) do our programs and rituals. We read our Bibles. We believe what we we’ve been taught to believe. We have our stances regarding what is right or wrong.
But, are we resurrected people? Do we worship as resurrected people? Do we serve as resurrected people? Do we work as resurrected people? Do give as resurrected people? Do we love as resurrected people?
If I AM resurrected, why am I still so enamored with this world? If I AM resurrected, why isn’t my life, my attitude, my worship, my heart a better reflection of the world and the life to come? If I AM resurrected, why aren’t I more like Jesus? Now? Today?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not questioning the present reality of my resurrection. I AM raised with Christ! I know that it is Truth.
I’m wondering what it would look like for me, for you, for the Church, for the Body of Christ to look a bit more resurrected – TODAY. And, every other day, until Christ comes again.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.”
Happy Pre-Easter. Now, go be resurrected.