Friday, April 13, 2012
Did Easter awaken anything spiritual in you? Were you moved to any new epiphany? Upon rereading how the crowd clamored, "crucify him, crucify him!" were you unnerved, shaken?
Did mentally walking the road to Golgotha with Jesus Christ this last Good Friday cause you to pause and quiver?
How about reflections on Jesus' crucifixion? His death? After sinking into the morass of the passion of Christ, did not your spirit soar as you read that the stone had been rolled away?
The Easter story is intended to awaken new and deeper thoughts and feelings about the love which held Jesus to the cross.
This topic is touched on by John Eldredge in his book, "Waking the Dead."
In it, Eldridge quotes Saint Irenaeus' who said, "The glory of God is man fully alive."
Is that not what the Easter story is to stir in us? God desires to renew relationship severed since the fall of humankind. He extends himself even as Christ extended his arms upon the Cross.
"Fully alive" through renewed relationship with God awakens in us what God has always desired for us.
We have opportunity to be one with God as Jesus prayed for his disciples, "that they may be one as we are one (John 17:11)."
"Fully alive" is to re-awaken the joy of our faith. It is to more clearly recognize the love God has for us and the offer of new life that begins this day.
"Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives (Romans 6:4)."
God wants you to have that new life in the present. The life meant for you before the taint due to mankind's fall was intended to be glorious. Since the Garden of Eden we have lost so much, most of all the close, intimate relationship with our Creator.
That life has once again been offered right NOW. It is life offered in its fullness of measure. "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10)."
I had always thought that forgiveness and eternal life were the complete package of blessings proffered upon acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord.
More and more there is an awakening within me that God wants me to enjoy the fullness of life in the ever present now. Eternal life is not just the future hope that is for those who place their trust in Christ's death, burial and resurrection.
To quote Eldredge, "eternity means ‘unending,' not ‘later.' It's a life that can't be taken from us. The offer is life, and that life starts now."
The Lord is committed to my becoming fully alive. Awakening to that truth provides hope in my tomorrow and a fullness of joy in the present with God's presence.
The Rev. Steve Lyons is pastor of First Christian Church, 518 S. Main St. in Milton-Freewater. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should contact Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.