“He is Risen!” Last Sunday our congregations gathered together for the most important Sunday of the Year, Resurrection Sunday (also referred to as Easter). The morning was spent in celebration and rejoicing that Jesus Christ has risen from the grave conquering sin and death- the ultimate message of Hope in the life of a Christ-follower. Many churches celebrated Baptisms and first-time commitments of people who came to believe this message of Hope through the Death and Resurrection of Christ.
It is now the second Sunday of Easter and some people believe the celebration is over. It’s funny how our culture places so much emphasis on one moment and fails to realize that there is more to the celebration during the season of Resurrection. I have been guilty of this in my life and as I am growing in my faith journey and as I am leading my congregation towards a better awareness and understanding of Christ, I have come to realize the importance of a season of Resurrection.
Looking at Psalm 16 at first glance, there seems to be a contrary tone to the rejoicing that should come during the season of Resurrection- there is a request for safety and refuge. People of God tend to be forgetful after having experienced the moments of the divine, there is a tendency to move forward with life and to allow for the daily struggles and trials to cause blind spots that cut out those reminders that God is powerful beyond the stressors of life.
David’s prayer is honest in recognizing that in order to live in the power of the God who Resurrects, there must be an intentional commitment and acknowledgement that the Lord is the provider of all life, goodness, creation, abundance and of making all things new. Those who seek after other gods will be consumed in the distraction, burden and eventual death that comes from failure to acknowledge all that God provides.
Contentment is evident in this Psalm. God as the provider of all life, goodness, creation, abundance and newness is the one who assigns the portions for His people. When each of us looks at what God has truly given us through the ultimate Sacrifice of His son, Jesus, it’s difficult to imagine asking for more. This contentment is not linked to prosperity or wealth regarding earthly standards, it is connected to the eternal inheritance that is available to us because Christ has died and risen- the resurrection is not simply a one-time event- it is available to each of us through faith in Christ.
As our hearts are opened to this reality, praise is a natural response. We continually seek the direction of the Lord with all of our being and with all that is in our lives. This relationship with God becomes the most important and true relationship each of us has in our life because we know that we will never be forsaken and that God is ever-present and ever-ready to guide us step by step towards Him.
Our earthly bodies will eventually perish, yet we have assurance that our eternal destination is one where we will not succumb to death or decay ever again. Our responsibility as Christ-followers is to stay on the path of life and to listen obediently to the direction God provides. Life on this path is meant to be celebrated as death is temporary and resurrection is eternal.
During this season of Resurrection, my hope for my congregants is that they simply do not regard Resurrection Sunday as just one day in the traditional sense, but that Resurrection is a season. God wants to continually make each of us new and for the dead areas in our lives to be brought under His life-giving grace and revived into something greater than we could have comprehended. Death hurts, there are stings and it is not easy to examine the areas where distractions have overtaken the path toward God. Each day of the season of Resurrection, I will encourage each congregant to examine their lives deeply and encourage them to trade in their dead spaces for God’s life-giving hope, power and transformation.
Christ is risen! Christ is risen! Indeed, I say again, Christ is risen!
Pastor of Hospitality Trinity Family Midtown Church of the Nazarene, Kansas City, MO
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