Sunday, April 8, 2012

Personal Reflections on The Resurrection

Christ Has Died. Christ Is Risen.
Christ Will Come Again.
   Today is Easter Sunday, and Holy Week is almost over. Today morning marked the remembrance of the bodily resurrection of Christ, more than 2000 years ago. As I have been reading through the accounts of the resurrection in the Gospels, I wanted to write about how this is personally relevant to me. 

   Reflecting upon the words of the liturgy today morning, I realized that too often, I find much meaning and cause for reflection on the cross while not as personally impacted by the resurrection. Perhaps I have fallen into the ignorant trap of taking its message for granted.
So what does the power of Christ's resurrection mean to me this Easter?

   The reality of suffering and death was brought home to me through a number of events last year. As an example, the tragic and sudden death of Yeswanth, my friend and second-year room mate from university, at the age of 27 last January hit me very hard [1]. As I, along with others waded through the shock and grief over the following days, I tried to process the implications of his death [2], the presence of God in the midst of devastating pain and grief [3] [4] and the answers that my faith gives me through my Bible about the hope of life beyond the grave [5]. I still think about Yeswanth often, and some of the lessons that I learned through his death about life, purpose, meaning, pain, suffering, hope and healing.

   As I remember Yeswanth and others close to me who suffered through the loss of loved ones last year [6] [7], I need to remind myself of what Jesus' triumphant exit out of the tomb three days after His brutal torture and crucifixion means to me, because like others, I too need hope. And I remember now the words of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthian church:

"But someone will say, 'How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come?' Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies. And what you sow, you do not sow that body that shall be, but mere grain - perhaps wheat or some other grain. But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body....So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven...And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man." 
- 1 Corinthians 15:35-49, NKJV

   I really need to hear this and let it sink in. My body is what I am now, but it is not what I will finally be. My body is a seed. It is fragile, weak, corrupted by sin, mortal, made of cells that age and die. It suffers sickness, deprivation, tiredness and hunger. It burns in the heat and shivers in the cold. It will wither and die one day. It will be laid into the earth and disintegrate into atoms. "Kevin", as he is now, will be seen no more on this earth.

But there is hope! It is not the end! Kevin, it is not the end!

   One day, my spirit will hear the thundering voice of Almighty God and the trumpet that sounds as He shouts the command from heaven for His saints to awaken. On that day, the little seed that was my body, though it be scattered into dust unto the uttermost parts of the earth, will burst forth into new life by the power of His Holy Spirit who lives in me now. Paul writes about this following his previous thoughts that I just quoted:

"Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed - in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality...The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 
- 1 Corinthians 15:35-49, NKJV

   This is the promise that I hold on to this Easter Sunday. I will live again! I will live by the mighty life and power of the Living One who lives in me! The Creator who spoke me into being and wove me together in my mother's womb will also re-create my body in an instant one day with one tremendous shout! This is great news!

   And this brings me to something really important. Looking back at the awesome event of Christ's resurrection, Paul took note of something very significant: "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you." - Romans 8:11, NKJV

   The Holy Spirit. I've been thinking about Him quite a bit over the last two days. I think that's where I'll be headed next, because I really need Him. See you in the next post.
- The Wisdom Seeker