Saturday, April 26, 2014

We're Living in Christ's Life After Death, Right?

This has little to nothing doing with what I'm about to write... it's awfully celebratory, though, yes?

ALLELUIA! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen, indeed! ALLELUIA!

It's good to be able to use our Alleluias again. We dusted them off last week and now we're nearly into the second week of Easter. I think this season is pretty cool, since we get to celebrate this one for 50 days, whereas Lent was 40. Lent was a season of fasting and prayer, where this is a season of feasting and rejoicing. We're just making up for lost party time, right?

But the question that I asked in my Easter Sunday post was 'How do we live in the light of the Risen Christ?' It seems like a vague and churchy thing to ask, which is intentional. I want to entertain this question for a while, so being vague helps. The first thing I have to say about it, though, is really anti-climactic. Because nothing outside of church has changed.

See, in church, we may be celebrating for 50 days, but Easter in the secular world has kinda gone the way of Christmas. People know it's coming, they know it's coming and then it arrives! And then it goes away after everyone finds their Easter baskets and pigs out on the chocolate. Nevermind that, in the case of Christmas, there is a 12 day feast, ending when the Magi arrive in Bethlehem; never mind that, in the case of Easter, there is a 50 day celebration, ending when the Apostles are given the gift of speaking in tongues by the Holy Spirit. Nevermind all of that. The world outside the Christian Church doesn't care about our celebration. For that matter, I don't know how many people inside the Christian Church care about our season of celebration. Like I said, anti-climactic.

For my part, I was working so hard to make it to Easter that it was hardly time to go to bed on Easter Sunday when I started going under the weather. I felt like crap and all I wanted to do was stay in bed and sleep. I didn't let myself (which probably prolonged my time of sickness) but I did what I did and now I look back on the first week of Easter and my life and all I see is a trail of tissues, water bottles and vitamin C boosters. Epic anti-climax.

So in spite of these things, I go back to my original question: How do we live in the light of the Risen Christ?

Truth be told, I don't have an answer to this and I think it would be too presumptuous of me to offer one. I don't even think there is one single answer. If any of you reading were hoping that I would give you your silver bullet here, I think you think too much of me.

That being said, here are a couple of reflections on the topic that are bouncing around in my head:

  • My mother, the priest, is fond of saying that we, as Christians, are Easter people. I know others who say this as well and I tend to agree with them. Saying that we are Easter people means that we live in the truth of Christ's resurrection, his victory over death; it means that death is not the end of the story anymore and that love wins. These are things that I believe in.
  • But what does belief in the Risen Christ get me? I mean, I know that belief in Christ gets me salvation, but it doesn't feel right just to stop there. It's like telling someone "I'm saved. What about you?" Which in my mind is as good as saying "I found my Jesus doll behind the sofa. Have you even been looking for yours?"
  • There's a hymn that I like very much and the refrain says "They will know we are Christians by our love/ by our love/ yes, they will know we are Christians by our love." If this is the metric that is supposed to be used to identify us as Christian, how many of us would even register on the scale? If showing love and compassion for others identifies us as being Christian, I think that there are many others who are better Christians that most Christians are (and I plan to write another whole post on this topic in the future).

Truth be told, asking how to live in the light of the Risen Christ is a question that I do not expect to resolve on my own. I know that trying to understand what Christ did in the nighttime before Easter is what all of Christianity has been trying to figure out since it happened. I also know that trying to live in the light of the Risen Christ is something that I will be able to do better in community, so I will be and have been looking for insight on this from those around me (which is kinda the point of having a church in the first place, right?)

Like I said, I don't want anyone to think that I have a silver bullet. I don't think I even want a silver bullet for this question. I have a lot of reflections and I'm honest when I say that I want to explore this in community. You, dear reader, are a part of my online community. I want to know about your reflections if you'll share them in the comments below.

Alleluia. The Lord is risen...