If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.Colossians 3:1-4
“He is risen”
What does those three words mean to you personally?
I think to fully embrace those words, we have to review our complete journey through Lent and Holy Week.
Our Lenten journey should have been a time in the desert, a time of wrestling in the darkness. As we journeyed through Holy Week, we witnessed, 2000 years later, the journey Jesus experienced through the Passion. We received the gift of the Eucharist and service to one another through his humility of washing the feet of his disciples. Then we witnessed his suffering on the wood of the cross.
Today, as we reflect on Easter and Jesus’ resurrection, it is imperative to look at his suffering and our own suffering. Today, those words “He is risen” reflect a deeper meaning, a personal encounter with him. The resurrection should signify the glorification of God through Christ’s suffering and our own suffering.
Through our journey during Lent we stumbled in the darkness, overturned the stones and dug deeper within and now we too experience life through the resurrection of Christ deeper and more intense. Today the light of Christ through his resurrection shines upon that darkness, resurrecting us from the death that suffering and sin bring into our lives.
I want to share my personal journey through Lent this year. I have been a single mom for about 7 ½ years. Loneliness has come with that territory for me and it has certainly been a struggle for me at times, especially during holidays when families gather to celebrate. If you read my blog at Christmas, I briefly spoke about that lonely Christmas. Perhaps this is where my Lenten journey truly began as I awakened my senses to it and began to evaluate what God may be revealing to me in the loneliness. When I began the Lenten season, I recognized a few things that seemed to stir not so good emotions within me.
One of those was Facebook. I found myself not only wasting time on Facebook but also experiencing feelings of jealousy, being unimportant and you guessed it LONELINESS. Our social media feed is full of likes and loves and perhaps expectations and disappointments. Shamefully, I began to feel unloved and less valued when my “friends” didn’t like or love my posts or comment but would on others’ posts. Oh boy does that spawn the enemy of jealousy. This had a spiral effect on me. Not a great path, especially for the spirit of God to dwell in. For Lent I decided I needed to uncover the stones that were causing these feelings. I didn’t like them and I knew they were not the person I liked in myself. Step one – I took a big break from Facebook by only sharing things automatically through other avenues that didn’t trigger these similar feelings.
I also began to dig deeper into the lies I was believing about myself by studying the book of Ephesians through Walking with Purpose: Fearless and Free. This helped me in grounding myself in who I really am in Christ and to not allow the enemy to steal it. When I feel rejected, alone and don’t belong, I’m reminded I am chosen (Ephesians 1:4) and adopted (Ephesians 1:5). When I feel unloved, I am reminded that He dwells in my heart and I am rooted in love (Ephesians 3:17). When I feel incomplete, I am remind He completes me (Ephesians 3:19).
No Facebook meant I had more time to read, pray and discern. My morning began with reading the daily readings, prayer and preparing my blog to journey through the day or week. Many of those daily posts spoke from a place I was also struggling with in preparing myself in the darkness to be a follower of Christ, to find a deeper purpose in my life.
During Lent or perhaps since Christmas, I would say I experienced transformation the deepest in the loneliness. Today, as I sit writing this, I am alone in my house, the only sound heard is the typing of the keyboard and I rejoice in the moment that He has given me to reflect on my journey and on the joy in my heart that Easter brings forth through the risen Lord through my own suffering.
This morning as I read The Better Part: Christ as Friend, I was reminded that every day God gives us a reminder of the resurrection of Christ in our lives.
“Think of my resurrection often. The more you turn the eyes of your heart towards it, the more its light will illuminate and warm your heart, until your whole life is gradually bathed in its power and joy. And I have given you a reminder – the sunrise. Each day the sun comes up and brings light to the world, just as I rose from the darkness of death in order to conquer it forever with the light of my life.”
This season has brought me to a greater peace than I have experienced in my entire life. I guarantee you that life isn’t perfect right now but I am equipped to handle the things that would normally disrupt any peace I experience through the Word of God and the LOVE He pours out through the resurrection and His love letter to ME.
My invitation is to look up at the sunrise each day and see the resurrected Jesus, to see God glorified through Christ’s suffering and mine. Perhaps this is your invitation as well so that you can live everyday with “He is risen” carved on your heart.
May the joy of Christ be with you as you rejoice in the resurrection.