Sunday, April 4, 2010

On Easter: I'll take the Power and pass on the Suffering

Philippians 3:10-12
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

With Easter Sunday just around the corner, this verse seems fitting to meditate on.  There is so much that can be said of Easter, of the holiday that symbolizes the death of Christ culminating in victory over sin, over pain, over death.  There is so much to be said of the Love that was so freely given to save a people who were so undeserving.  There is so much to be said of a God who chose to give up His power and to humble himself, taking on the form of a man in order to bring salvation.

There is so much to be said of such a glorious display of affection...but more-so, there is so much to be learned. 

Paul puts it so well as he reflects on the beautiful and terrible death of our Lord and savior when he says: I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His suffering. 

You see, for each one of us....simply reflecting on this glorious display of affection means nothing for the individual soul until one is willing to pursue it.  Until one is willing to accept it.  Until one is willing to allow it to change their lives. 

For those reading this who do not have a relationship with Christ this means one thing: turning to Christ, acknowledging your sinful state, accepting that He so lovingly gave His life to save yours, and pursuing a relationship with him. 

But what about us who already believe?  How can this glorious display of affection continue to change and mold us even after the point of salvation?  How can we get past the point of complacency and being so accustomed to this blessed day that it no longer moves us, no longer challenges us, no longer transforms us?  According to Paul, knowledge brings our salvation from this detrimental apathy.

From the day of  his salvation, Paul spent every moment of his life in pursuit of this one thing: knowledge of Christ.  He wanted to know Christ in every aspect.  He wanted to understand Him in his most powerful moments and in the depths of His suffering.  He understood that true intimacy involved such depths of understanding.  Becoming like the One he loved in every way. He realized that the more he identified with Christ, the greater his appreciation for His sacrifice would be. 

For so many of us, that is an easy thing to say when we are talking in sharing in the power of Christ.  But what about in His suffering?  Do we long to know Christ, even in His suffering?  Do we long to take on a glimpse of the pain of Calvary?  Do we cherish opportunities to humble ourselves as an act of love to those around us?  Do we take the chance to get on our knees and wash the feet of those who have the capacity to betray us?  Do we really allow the pain in our lives to shape us into the face of Christ? 

Can we identify with His broken heart, in pieces for the lost souls surrounding Him?  Can we say in the midst of our betrayal that we long for the Father to forgive our betrayers?  Can we shed tears of anguish for the unity we long to have with our Father? 

Christians, do we long to know Christ in the fellowship of His suffering?

This Easter Sunday, we have a blessed opportunity to gaze upon the sacrifice and victory of our Lord.  We have the opportunity to identify with Him, giving ourselves over to the same power that conquered the grave to be at work in our lives.  We have the opportunity, also, to connect with Him on an even greater join with Him in His suffering.  To allow the glimpse of suffering we have felt or may be feeling this very moment to be yet one more thing that draws us into greater intimacy with our Lord. 

May we take the invitation as we gaze upon the cross and look upon the empty tomb, to share with Him in the power of His resurrection, and have the courage to take part with Him in the fellowship of His suffering. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Love to hear your thoughts...