From time to time across my life, the Lord has granted me the grace of some “new” understanding of Him, of me, of “stuff” relating the two… of Him and the world… just… “something”… on Easter morning. This effect is always the most profound when He guides me along some “path of preparation” (rather reminiscent of John the Baptist’s “prepare ye the way of the Lord… Make straight paths…”) during Lent.
I put the word “new” in quotations opening this post, because what I learn is often not “new” at all… It is something, some word or phrase, that we ALL know… that we’ve ALWAYS known… maybe all our lives. And yet, the learning opens before me with unimagined depth and breadth, such that it seems I had never heard or seen it before.
This Easter, this Resurrection Sunday just past, has been one of those times and, to be perfectly frank, I’m still “recovering” from it.
I awoke, gently… quietly… and the Lord spoke just one single word. “Resurrection”
That’s all He said. But…
I could not even move from my bed before He just “unfolded” that word before me… took me inside of it… let me watch in an entirely new way what HE means/meant by it… that it felt as if I lay there for two hours, though it may have been seconds, minutes, or half the day. Time just stood suspended.
Jesus, sitting up naked, clearing Himself of His winding sheet in Joseph of Arimathea’s borrowed tomb? Yes. That was there. But… but… there was just so much MORE! I had never thought about the actual technical “meaning” behind the word “re-surrection”. It means… “breathing again”. It became this “coming-again-to-life” of not only Jesus, but all of mankind, and all of the fallen world, and all of the Cosmos, all of Creation.
The Re-surrection was, is, the “Fresh Start of Life”, buried with Jesus in His death, raised again in Newness of Life…
Not just Him, not just “us”, but ALL!
Is that a big enough deal?
How about this, then?
Two things, ONLY two things, denote the Christian… the one translated from domain of darkness to kingdom of light, Kingdom of God… to trust and acknowledge that The Father sent Jesus, the Son… and raised Him from the dead.
Why is that “all we need to know”? Because within THAT, all else is contained and subsumed.
How many times have I heard the protest, “Being a Christian is too hard. I go to Church and I don’t know enough. Everybody in Sunday School knows all this ‘stuff’ and I feel like an ignorant fool! And the Bible is too complicated, all these rules, verses, books, stories. I just don’t get it. I’m not SMART ENOUGH to be a Christian or go to church!”
Oh, the pain in my heart at such words!
What did the APOSTLES require of a “new church” just “getting with the program” in the First Century?
Three Things: (1) No fornication. (2) No eating the meat of strangled animals. (3) No eating meat sacrificed to idols.
I mean, they had a big MEETING about it and everything! And that’s what they settled on. Now, how “complicated” is all that for a Church Covenant?
There wasn’t any Bible at the time to impress one another with, or make gentiles memorize.
Paul repeats time and time again, he preaches(preached) only Jesus, and Him crucified!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Christian life should never get so complicated, Gentle Readers.
Believe in the Father, His love, His provision. Believing in the Son sent from the Father, born true man, living as true man yet truly God son of God. Believing in the Passion, the Cross, and… AND… the RESURRECTION!
Life, pulled from the maw of death… destroying death and darkness once and for all in the glory and power of Life and Light!
Love God, love neighbor, love self. Love as Jesus loves…
But this word, Gentle Reader… the Power of this Word… Resurrection!
When we believe in Jesus of the Resurrection, we believe in Jesus of the Cross, and Jesus of the Gospels, and Jesus of the Manger. When we believe in Jesus of the Resurrection, we believe in God the Father who raised Him. We believe in God and the Old Testament, and the Covenant God made with man, to care for him as his God, and receive him as His people. When we believe in Jesus of the Resurrection, we believe in God who walked in the Garden of Eden in the cool of the day, and who fashioned man in His own image, and who fashioned Adam and Eve as created He them.
Many many peoples have worshiped gods who bring death from life. Many peoples have worshiped gods who demand sacrifice in payment for their blessing and good will. Many peoples have worshiped gods who generate fear to constrain and rule men.
Our God is none of that. Our God brings Life at the destruction of death. Our God sacrificed Himself, to feed and bring blessing to men. Our God generates Love that conquers fear, and has removed punishment having taken that upon Himself.
This is not complicated. We need not make it so. This is simple relationship. And we can decide… each of us individually… whether or not we CHOOSE to TRUST in such relationship. And… we can invite others to do so, generally in words of nearly one syllable.
God is so urgently, so intently, so intimately present… right here, right now… seeking relationship of touch and immediacy with His children…
One friend I had used to put it this way:
- Do you believe that Jesus truly lived, and was sent by Our Father, God?
- Do you believe that Jesus truly died, hung on the Cross?
- Do you believe that Jesus truly rose again, resurrected by the Father?
- Has he ever died since?
- Then He must be alive right now!!!
Let us all be Resurrected, freed of deadness, numbness, decay, atrophy. Let us all be made alive! Wonderfully alive! Totally Alive! As only HE knows and makes Life!
It’s just not that complicated, is it? Be joyful in the grace of New Life!