Monday, March 24, 2008

Two Realities of Easter

Easter does not make everything right, at least in the context of our temporal existence. The day before Easter Sunday was the memorial service of a dear friend, 58 years old and the heart of his family, who was much too young and needed — at least looking from this world’s point of view.

The last two weeks have brought a heaviness to my family that deepened the bitter-sweet realities of Good Friday and Easter. We live in a world that does not always cooperate with our desires, even when we believe our desires to be good and grounded in our prayers.

There is an intensity of spiritual battle for those who seek to live fully unto God in everything they do. Hell does not like the witness of such a life. And even though we live “in the Resurrection,” there is the truth of what theologians call “the already and not yet” — we already know Jesus has won, but the fullness of the consummation is not yet ours. We on earth are still among the Church Militant, not yet with the Church Triumphant.

But the Church Triumphant is the greater reality. That is the nature of faith. Jesus is risen from the dead. Sin and death are defeated. Christians have a hope beyond this world.

Still, we live in this world, and we love the good gifts from our heavenly Father which are part of this world. I also believe that the more attuned we become to holiness, the more the pain of this world becomes, at times, excruciating — one more way we enter into the sufferings of our Lord.

What do we do? Keith Green once did a song that said, “Just keep doing your best, and pray that it’s blessed, and Jesus takes care of the rest.” When we obey the Lord as best we know and trust His mercies in our lives, it also means we can indeed trust Him with the things He allows to fall across our path. There is much we cannot control, but we trust the One who controls all things.

And He is risen from the dead. Alleluia.

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