“….just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life……” Romans 6:4
“Since, then, you, have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand God. “ Colossians 3:1
The palm crosses of a week ago have started to wilt. That which was the solemnity of Good Friday has passed into the triumphant shouts of He is Risen and the reply He is Risen Indeed! Even now perhaps those glorious echoes are fading. Lent is over and now we can return……go back to eating, drinking, playing, viewing whatever it was that we gave up for that period.
And here in lies the danger, the danger of the old way. You see, in the covenant prior to Jesus; under the law of Moses, there were specific times of the year and days of sacrifice and atonement. There were specific actions to be taken because of sin and uncleanliness to become clean again. The law required that those things be repeated year after year; because the sacrifice was not sufficient to do the job.
But in Jesus Christ there is a new covenant, a new salvation. A covenent based on the sacrifice that took place with Jesus’ death. Jesus died once and that was indeed in the past. Likewise, Jesus was raised from the dead, resurrected, and that happened once in the past. And like His birth, it is a wonderful thing to commemorate the great Love, Mercy and Sacrifice that Our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ showed through Christ’s life, death and resurrection. But we dare not stop solely at commemorating those past events.
“Christ the Lord is Risen Today!” is a wonderful hymn. Yet it is a hymn or at least a proclamation that must be sung or made daily if it is to have the true transformative power that it is intended to have. In trying to trace the grammar and look into some of the foundational research on the phrase as it appears (and for what it is worth I concur) that the phrase is not trying to convey a sense of time (i.e. a past, present or future tense), it is trying to communicate a state of being. Christ IS risen. He exists in a state of risen from the dead. He is alive; seated at the most powerful place in existence; the Right Hand of God the Father Almighty.
Thus, remembering that we are the branches of Christ the vine, we have been resurrected with Him as well. The plan, as Paul so eloquently says it, is for us to die to sin of the flesh and be resurrected with Jesus Christ into the life of the spirit. There is no going back. Easter, in fact is never over! Because, Jesus Christ is Risen. Jesus Christ lives!
The difficulty we have is partly because of our linear thinking based on our linear existence. Something happens and once it does, it becomes the past. Something else must be next. The page on the calendar must turn. If we proclaim a specific day for an event, our birthday, our anniversary, Christmas, Easter; those are specific dates to do specific things but they only last a moment. Plus we have an enemy, the devil who would love nothing more for us to never celebrate any aspect of God or Jesus Christ. But if we must, the next best thing for him, is if we carve out a day or perhaps a week, where we concentrate on things holy, and then pack them away for another year and get back to our earthly focused, flesh filled lives.
Jesus Christ is Risen; everyday. Jesus Christ is Risen, out of the power of love and mercy. Jesus Christ lives, so that we might also live. Live a life dedicated to love and righteousness. A life focused on things that are above. Yet as we strive, we will fall. As we live, our flesh will yield to temptation. We will sin. But fear not. Jesus Christ also died; only once. That death, which will only happen once, for all times, was to take away the sting of death from us due to sin.
Easter; there is not reason to limit it to a celebration of a past event. Yes Jesus Christ died and on the third day He rose again. But Easter is so much more. It is the new covenant, it is not just Jesus Christ’s state of being that is risen, it is a call for us to reside in that state of being as well; to become risen. So until we are reunited with Christ in a realm where there is no longer a today, yesterday nor tomorrow; let us, each and every day, strive to sing and live out that wonderful phrase: “Christ the Lord is Risen Today!”
Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father; we can not begin to express in words grand enough or deep enough the praise and gratitude we feel for the life, death and resurrection of Your Son, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Grant, through Your Spirit, that we may live lives of resurrected spirit, denying the temptations of the flesh and the world. That through those lives we may come to see and walk daily with He who lives and reigns with You. It is in His Name; Jesus Christ we pray. Amen