Feb 16, 2009

Deja morts: already died

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Today I find a new category for the last deja, and I called it deja morts (already died).  Below is the first quote about deja morts, taken from Charles Erlandson’s blog:

Sometimes you think you know someone. And then you stumble upon their CD collection or, in my case, my record collection. Though I’ve been branching out a lot in recent years, if you looked at my record collection you might come away with the idea that it revolves around two poles: Baroque classical music of the 17th century and psychedelic music from the 1960s.

The most valuable record in my record collection is an album by the psychedelic band The 13th Floor Elevators titled Easter Everywhere. And “Easter Everywhere” is a good summary of what St. Paul teaches in Colossians 3:1-4 when he writes that since you were raised with Christ you should seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting on the right hand of God. Because you have died, and your life is hidden in Christ, Christians should remember that Easter is indeed everywhere for them.

Easter is not just an idea, not just a media event, not just a holiday from work and school. It’s a holy day, a holy season, and a holy reality made holy only by the presence of Jesus Christ.
No Jesus Christ: no Easter.

But where Jesus Christ is, there is the kingdom of heaven, and there we find Easter.

And the work of Jesus Christ is so vast, so cosmic in scope and power, that the consequences of His death and resurrection have transformed the universe forever. And there, Easter is everywhere because the power of Jesus Christ is everywhere.

Easter in Jerusalem. Easter in Hot Springs. Easter in the Andromeda galaxy.
Easter 2000 years ago. Easter today. Easter up in heaven.
Easter at Christmas. Easter during Epiphany. Easter even during Lent.
Easter Everywhere!

Some people are concerned most about the past, some the present, and some the future. If we have too much of a focus on any of these aspects of time, however, we risk an unhealthy distortion. Too much of the past, and you run the risk of nostalgia and not really living anymore. Too much of the present and you become a giant, blind appetite with no direction. Too much of the future and the present stands still and atrophies.

As humans, we need all 3 to see God and live in His kingdom, and time is perhaps a reflection of the Trinity in which the past, the present, and the future all together make up a trinity of one entity called Time. God, and therefore Easter, is in each of these 3: past, present, and future.

As Christians we all know that Jesus Christ truly died on the Cross on Good Friday, in the past. We know that Christ’s resurrection is a historical fact. We also look forward to Easter in the future, to the complete fulfillment of Easter which is our resurrection and eternal life in heaven. We look forward to the future joys of heaven and our glorification (verse 4), and the final triumph over sin and death – in the future.

But what about the present?
A strange thing about the present: did you know that you’ve already died? You see, you were buried with Christ in baptism (2:12). Baptism is both a funeral and a birth: your old man dies, but at the same time, the New Man is born. You have died with Christ to your self, to your old man, to the ways of the world.

You died! and your new life is hidden in Jesus Christ (3:3.) Already. Right now!

The astounding doctrine taught by St. Paul in Colossians 3 is that Jesus Christ is risen, and you are risen with Him. For the Christian, Easter is always here, because Jesus C is always risen – and you are risen with Him – right now.

Your eternal life has already begun because you have already died and have eternal life in Jesus Christ. St. Paul reminds you that if you are a Christian who has given your life to Jesus Christ, you are already risen with Jesus Christ. Not will be one day – you are risen with Him.

The life of the Christian should be indelibly, indisputably marked by this central fact – a fact that St. Paul talks about more than any other: that Jesus Christ is risen, and you are risen with Him. We should see God reminding us of this truth in every nook and cranny of our existence. It should be reflected in the way we think, speak, and act – that Jesus Christ is risen, and we are risen with Him.

Now I know that you may not feel like Easter. It’s just turned to February, and it’s still cold. I’m not feeling too well today. The fact that Easter is here doesn’t pay my bills; it doesn’t stop my kids from arguing; it doesn’t do your laundry; and it doesn’t take away your arthritis, or weak knees, or heart problems, or chronic fatigue (though one day it will!)

But I also know that when we remember what God has done, for example on Easter Day, we find ways to celebrate and actually feel like it’s Easter and that Christ has risen.

What a shame that Easter is just a day! What a shame that after Easter Day we have to go back to “real” life, as if nothing has happened. After all, that’s what the disciples did: they went back to fishing, as if nothing had happened.

How many of you are content to live the rest of your week without Jesus Christ and His Resurrection? How many of you are content to wait a whole year to worship God at Easter again?
And yet that’s what some of us do!

But what sense does it make to say I was baptized into Christ – and I will live in heaven for all of eternity with Him - but then refuse to live with and for Him here and now? What if I told you some ways that you could remember and live in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ Easter each and every day?

God has left you daily, seasonal, and annual reminders and means of participating in the Resurrection of your Lord. For the Christian, Easter is to be everywhere. And it is. But sometimes in the cloudy winter days of life we can’t see or feel it.

Here is a week of ways to remember Easter – the fact that you are risen with Jesus Christ and should live with Him in joy.

First is the Easter of prayer. Every day – every moment - we can ascend to heaven with Jesus Christ because we have access to boldly come to the throne of grace.

Second is the Easter of the Bible. Every day we can be reminded of not only the fact of our resurrection with Jesus but also how we must live as a result of it.

Third is the Easter of Holy Communion. As often as your church celebrates the Lord’s Supper, you celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord and participate in His Resurrection through His Body and His Blood.

Fourth is the Easter of the Seasons. As we proceed throughout the annual cycle, the seasons themselves teach us about the Resurrection. First comes the Summer of paradise, and then the Fall of man. Fall produces the death of Winter, but in the Spring Easter and the Resurrection come again. Then comes the Summer of heaven. The Church Year also teaches us about the life of Christ, centered on the Resurrection.

Fifth is the Easter of the Plants, closely related to the Easter of the Seasons. Every year we are reminded of death by the disappearance of the plants and the color green. And every year God resurrects them to beautiful, colorful life.

Sixth is the Easter of the Sun. It is a happy coincidence in the English language that “sun” and “Son” are homonyms. The daily resurrection of the life-giving sun should remind us of the eternal Resurrection of the Life-giving Sun.

Seventh is the daily Easter of Awaking. Every night we ritually die, when we fall asleep. In the Bible to “fall asleep” is even a euphemism for dying. But every morning we are ritually resurrected. What a wonderful opportunity every day to remember our Resurrection and give thanks!

Easter began 2000 years ago at the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, but it will continue forever in heaven, when we are all resurrected in our bodies.

And Easter is here today, because the risen Jesus Christ is here today.
Easter, for Christians, is therefore Everywhere.

Prayer: O God, who for our redemption gave Your only-begotten Son to the death of the Cross and by His glorious Resurrection has delivered us from the power of our enemy; grant us so to die daily from sin that we may live forever more with Him in the joy of the Resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Resolution and Point for Meditation: I resolve to make use of one of the 7 ways of remembering Easter and to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ today.