Let us pray: O Glorious Lord, Resurrected Savior, how joyous You have made today because on this day You have shown the world that You are the Conqueror of all sin and all death. Yes, you have conquered our greatest fears for us so that we may now live in joyous serenity of the soul. Since we now have nothing to fear in this life, give to us the chief fruit of Your victory in the form of undying confidence and quiet resolve when it comes to every problem we may face. Amen
THE LORD IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!
TEXT: Colossians 3: 1-4 “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. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Dearly Beloved in Our Glorious, Resurrected Savior:
With the flick of an angelic finger, or perhaps just a powerful angelic word, the 2000 lb. stone was rolled away from Christ’s grave. But when that happened the universe was filled with shrieks and howls from the bowels of hell. Satan and his allies lost. And Christ the Son of God won! Today we celebrate this momentous triumph of good over evil with that ancient cry of God’s people: “The Lord is Risen! He is risen, indeed!”
We all know the facts of the Easter story. They are branded on our conscience. So, instead of recounting them let’s examine what the resurrection actually means to us, today.
It all started on that first Easter morning when the women came to the tomb with heavy hearts and fear in their souls. And then slowly, as the reality of Christ’s resurrection dawned on them, their faith, their confidence, and their fearlessness grew and grew until on Pentecost, Peter would stand fearlessly before those who could take his life and preach the truth of his undying Lord! What changed them all from scared, frustrated, cowardly believers who hid in the shadows and sulked after Good Friday into brave champions of Godly truth? Of course, it was the reality that God’s Son had conquered sin, death and the devil for them. It was the new-found reality that: “To live now was Christ and to die meant gain.” The flawed, evil fabric of the universe that afflicted God’s people was torn aside just like that huge curtain in the temple. It would never obscure or veil the victorious nature of God’s people again. All this because: “The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!”
Social scientists tell us something we already know. It is this: “All humans are born with a fight or flight mentality.” That is, we shy away from pain, from suffering, from physical and emotional anguish. We all are born to take care of #1 first. We have a survivor mentality. We see that in both the women and the disciples before that first Easter. Peter ran away. The others did likewise. The women stood silently and watched His death and did nothing. Although they were believers, Christians, doubt and fear displaced faith in their hearts. We see from this a fact that none of us cares to ever admit. That is, Christians are often cowards when it comes to their faith.
Cowardly behavior afflicts us daily. We keep silent when others mock Godly truth. We fail to involve ourselves when our neighbor has an attack of depression because we fear doing or saying something amiss. We worry over money troubles, physical pains, work conflicts, and whatever else pains your psyche, thinking that we are just poor, downtrodden believers who are powerless against the ravages of sin in this world. So, we often act like cowards, or victims, and run away.
After the resurrection, people just like you and me, didn’t do that anymore! They stood up. They spoke up. They didn’t let inner fears overwhelm them. They knew that they had God Almighty in their corner and that He would always bless their labors and efforts. They knew all this and acted on it because their Lord had risen from their grave. He had conquered their greatest fear. And if He had done that out of love for them, obviously the other causes of cowardly behavior were mere nothings. This is what sustained the early believers before the lions in the arena, the gladiators cutting them down, and the many persecutions that followed. The resurrection means that none of us has to be cowardly any longer! None of us has to play the victim card any more. As Paul later writes: “Who shall separate us from the love of God? Shall trouble, or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness, or danger or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” The resurrection means that nothing can truly hurt your soul because it rests in Christ’s loving, ever-living, hands.
This is the point St. Paul rams home in the words of our text. The resurrection totally transforms our outlook on life. It turns us from cowards into fearless champions of Godly reality. Champions who cling to the Gospel because God’s grace in Christ is the most powerful weapon in the universe. It is the weapon God used to destroy the power of evil and its hold over us. Paul says it this way: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ (note that in God’s timeless reality this has already occurred), set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. (Start thinking about life and approaching problems from the vantage point of a heavenly mindset. After all, you already have one foot in the door by being linked to Christ!) Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, (with Christ since He was your substitute in all things) and your life is now hidden (the totality of your Godly blessings and quiet confidence they bring is unrecognized by this world) hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who IS your life, (right now He is your life—present reality) when He appears (at His 2nd coming) then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
Most Christians think that the power of Easter is totally about heaven and future glory. Meanwhile, since they are still earthbound, Easter only gives them some faint hope for a better tomorrow. Folks, there is so much more to Easter. Easter is about God literally rocking the universe and causing a total change in its equilibrium. Light triumphs over darkness. Good vanquishes evil. Cowardice is replaced by fearless confidence. All this because on Easter the Lord Almighty broke the back of death and hell. You have been raised above all that negative worldly stuff along with Christ at His resurrection. You have been made alive with Christ! So, hold your head up, fix your minds on God’s ways, and walk in your newfound, confident Light! Amen