Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Happy Easter! CHRIST IS RISEN! No greater words have been spoken. This is the good news of our faith. We boldly proclaim this message of the resurrection on Easter.
For a lot of us, resurrection might be a hard thing to grasp. We know that it is significant. But we don’t know why it is so important. We don’t know if we even really believe in it. Even Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples, had a hard time with it. He refused to believe in the resurrection unless he saw and touched Jesus in the flesh.
So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”John 20:25
Resurrection is not a theory. Resurrection is not what we try to prove. Resurrection is not what we can know with our head. Resurrection is a reality that we EXPERIENCE. Resurrection is our experience of God’s POWER that raised Jesus to life.
It is true that Jesus’ disciples saw the risen Christ with their eyes. Thomas even got to touch the wounds on Jesus’ body. But seeing Jesus wasn’t what changed them. It was their experience of God’s power that raised Jesus which changed them in a profound way.
That was what also happened to St. Paul. This was long after Jesus’ resurrection. Paul had heard about the resurrected Jesus and those who believed in it. But it meant nothing to him. He thought it was ridiculous. In fact, he wanted to silence those who spoke about it. He persecuted the early Christians and put them in prison. Then one day, he encountered the risen Christ on his way to Damascus. He experienced the power of the resurrection. It completely changed his life.
There is nothing like the power of the resurrection. It is greater than any human power.
Our own willpower has its limits. We know this from experience. We want to break free from our old habits. We do our best, but we easily drift back into our old ways. We feel forever bound to our past, our habits, and ourselves. Our willpower doesn’t give us the power to live a new life. It only makes us more controlling and rigid.
The power of the resurrection is different. It doesn’t come from us. It comes from God. It makes us entirely new. It changes our desires and our attitude. It gives us the power to live a new life with freedom. Whatever came before, it has no hold over us. That’s why St. Paul proclaimed this after meeting Christ—
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; The old has gone, the NEW is here!2 Corinthians 5:17
You are a new creation. The old has gone. The new has come. You are living a new reality! You are no longer what you were before. God has given you the power to live a new life.
Today is a special Sunday. Joan will be getting baptized. Baptism symbolizes dying and rising with Christ. We received our identity as God’s new creation. So we celebrate the new life God has given Joan. We also commit to walking with her and supporting her in her journey of faith, as God promises to be with her. We are the people of the resurrection.
St. Paul tells us today—
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.Colossians 3:1, 2
You are no longer living by your own power. You are living by God’s power that will never die. You are living a life of new focus, passion and direction. Instead of going through your journey looking down, look up. Seek what is good, beautiful and meaningful. With the power that God has given you, you will be able to do great and wonderful things. You will use your freedom to serve and bless others.
John Coltrane, a famous saxophone player, lived with that desire. He played beautiful music that touched the hearts of many. This was what he said—
I want to be a force for real good. In other words, I know that there are bad forces. I know that there are forces out here that bring suffering to others and misery to the world, but I want to be the opposite force. I want to be the force which is truly for good.John Coltrane
Trust in the power of the resurrection. Experience it. You will live and be a force for real good.
On Good Friday, the darkness of this world tried to swallow up the light of the world. On Easter Sunday, the light burst forth through the darkness. As John said in his gospel, the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it. May the power of resurrection shine in your life and give light to those who are in the darkness.