This month we celebrate Easter, the most important Church holiday of the year. It’s the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ as well as being raised to new life in Him! As Easter has become more and more commercialized, it’s easy to focus on just one day. There’s the build-up with Easter eggs, Peeps (of course!), Easter baskets, new clothes, the family Easter dinner…. and then it’s over—the only thing left is to eat all that candy! But what about the new life I am raised to with Christ because of Easter? Shouldn’t there be something more than candy? What does that new life mean when my life looks the same as it did before Easter? Perhaps sometimes we make it all too hard, we think that we have to find ‘the magic’ and there must be something we are missing if we don’t ‘feel’ like a new person. The passage from Colossians helps us to understand this ‘new life’ when it says “Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth, for you died to this life and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” New life comes with new perspective, a life that first looks to things of heaven instead of things of the earth. Dying to this life is the realization that ‘this isn’t all there is.’ God provides the way to new life for all of us through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. New life starts now! The old life, the old way of thinking, the old way of doing things is gone.
We all encounter experiences of our lives and our relationships through a particular ‘world view.’ The world view generally begins with ‘How I feel,’ ‘What I want,’ ‘What I believe my rights are,’ ‘Am I comfortable,’ and ‘What I want to do.’ Often that’s where we start. But, in our new life we are invited to encounter our experiences and relationships first through ‘heaven’s view.’ ‘I am a witness to God’s love,’ ‘I am forgiven by God,’ ‘I want what is good for all of God’s children,’ ‘God will strengthen me when I am challenged,’ ‘God will guide me to do his will.’ When we are hurt, instead of revenge we offer forgiveness. When we hurt others, instead of defending poor behavior we humbly seek forgiveness. When circumstances challenge us, instead of ‘Why me God?’ we start with ‘God, what are you trying to show me?’ When we fail, instead of placing blame elsewhere, we pray for God’s guidance. When we feel shame or guilt, instead of muddling around in the pit, we lift our heads and say “Thank-you God for loving me, showing me a new way and believing I can do better.” Starting from a ‘heaven view’ we will offer to others as well as experience for ourselves gifts of grace, compassion, kindness, love, joy, peace of heart, the satisfaction of serving, reconciliation and more. Contrast that to what the ‘world’s view’ often leads to: cynicism, stress, anger, anxiety, revenge, worry, fear of loss, competitiveness and more. Which would you choose? There has to be more than what the ‘old life’ offers and it is found in new life in Christ. It’s living with a ‘heaven view’ of what God desires for this world and our part to make that happen.
New life is believing that God’s way is better than all that the world can offer. New life is believing that you are a new person in Christ who can choose God’s way. New life is seeing your experiences and your relationships through the love of God who desires that you live your life to the fullest and in joy!
Easter Blessings to You and Yours!