Mike’s Meditations: Magnify the Living Christ

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by Mike Van Vranken

How is your Easter going?”  Has anyone asked you that question over the last couple of weeks?  It’s ironic that we hear “How is your Lent going?” quite often during those 40 days after Ash Wednesday.  Yet, once the stores remove the bunnies from their shelves and we’ve eaten all our Cadbury eggs, Easter is quickly forgotten. We understand its importance in our Christian lives, but because resurrection is difficult to explain, we can easily lose sight of our own role in what it means.  Our authentic desire is never to explain resurrection, but to enter into it and live it.

Experiencing resurrection is not new to us. When we came out of the waters of our baptism, we rose as a new person. Resurrected!  “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). But it doesn’t stop there. We continue to be renewed and transformed and live as resurrected “ambassadors for Christ” who have “become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:20, 21).

During Lent we were determined to examine our lives and crucify those things that distract us or pull us away from God. Then, we celebrated his rising from the dead in his glorified body. But again, it shouldn’t stop there. We rise from Lent different and transformed as a new and living child of God, more joyful and more loving because we got rid of some of those attributes that draw us away from him. We are different. We are changed. And we are to live those changes as resurrected ambassadors for Christ.  This is how we enter into and live resurrection.

The incarnation, God with us, is made manifest and continues in our world because we magnify the risen Christ within us.  Men and women who are in the state of resurrection experience a radical change. It isn’t easy. It can be complex.

But the challenge is: How do I enter the ordinary world as the new person I am? And do I realize that I don’t wait until next Lent to find new ways to deny the worldliness in my life?  Each day I can find some part of me that distracts my focus from God and nail that distraction to the cross.  I continue in resurrection as changed again and again – the transformation continues, so resurrection continues. I literally begin to live it each day.  This is what transformation means.  It is crossing into those areas of our lives where annihilation of the self can begin and we then can move into a new life with God and find joy.

To remain resurrected is to keep our eyes focused on Christ and to continue walking in that resurrected way, even in our everyday lives.

Jesus in the resurrection accounts reveals who he is now – in all his divinity, which is shining through in all of his encounters.  He is filled with peace, love and joy. We live the resurrection by allowing the risen Jesus in us to shine through with this same peace, love and joy in the encounters of our daily lives. This new life of ours becomes a powerful experience for us and for those around us.

Sound scary? In his post-resurrection appearances, Jesus says: “Be not afraid,” and “Peace be with you.”  This is what we all have to learn when we move into new life – don’t be afraid, and trust the peace of God.  We become totally united with the incarnation itself. It is not us who shine with peace, love and joy – it’s Jesus shining through us. And it’s not an illusion. It’s real.

Finally, this entire new life moves us in two ways:

1. It ignites in us a capacity to be there for others in a new and more dynamic reality; a new way of loving, of ministering with compassion, and of sharing in the journeys of our sisters and brothers.

2. It also demands some alone time with God. To be present with Him in prayer. It is God who shows us how to practice being a resurrected people and spending time with Him in prayer and conversation is essential.

We are called to more than just believing in resurrection. We are called to be resurrection in our modern world. So rather than waiting for someone to ask how your Easter is going, just go ahead and ask yourself: “How am I resurrection for the people in my life and the entire world around me?”

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