SEEK THE THINGS THAT ARE ABOVE
(A biblical reflection on EASTER SUNDAY [YEAR A], April 24, 2011)
One of the various readings at the Easter Sunday: Col 3:1-4
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Col 3:1-4)
On this great day of the resurrection, we are called to raise our eyes and hearts to Christ, who is “seated at the right hand of God” (Col3:1). Jesus is risen, He is risen indeed! He has defeated death, conquered the devil, and disarmed sin! Heaven’s gates have opened wide for us! Now, baptized into Christ, we can share in His victory and walk in freedom. Yes, we are called to contemplate Jesus in glory – as well as the future revelation of our own glory in Him, if we persist in seeking “things that are above” (Col3:2,4). But as we look up at these heavenly realities, let us also celebrate the resurrection by gazing back at the earthly life that made it all possible.
Jesus’ resurrection is the vindication of His entire earthly existence. It was not as if
God raised Him from the dead simply because He was the innocent victim of an unjust death sentence. On the contrary! Everything about the way Jesus lived led up to this glorious day of triumph. His resurrection was the culmination of His life of humility, obedience, and love for the Father. Every act of submission to His Father, every choice to take the risk to love instead of remain comfortable, every demonstration of God’s holiness and mercy – all of this provided the foundation for the burst of power that rolled away the tombstone. Of course death could not keep a hold on Jesus! It never had a hold on Him while He walked this earth!
As we celebrate Easter, let us celebrate the resurrection as the culmination of Jesus’ righteous life. Let us rejoice that His righteousness has been imputed to us and that we are empowered to live as Jesus lived. We have been raised up with Christ and are a new creation in Him. Yes, we all should rejoice today, but what about tomorrow? How can we hold on our Easter joy? Let us be realistic, then. We should expect “bumps” in our daily path. Days will come when our minds will seem like a battlefield of temptation and anxiety. But these bumps do not have to rob us of our inheritance. Grounded in the knowledge that we “have been raised with Christ” (Col3:1), we can face the battle directly, and overcome!
Imagine that a friend hurts us in some way. What will we do? It would be easy to feel deflated, angry, or defensive. But remember that Jesus has raised us up with Him. If we keep filling our minds with the truths of God’s love – both for us and for the other person – there will no room left for resentment or revenge.
Perhaps we feel that the demands on our time are overwhelming. Still, we should make time for prayer. When we take our eyes off everything we have to do and contemplate heaven instead, we will find ourselves better able to keep our tasks in perspective. We may even become more efficient! Therefore, let us resolve now to let our Easter celebration take deep root in our lives. As the Holy Spirit fills our minds with the reality of what happened on the first Easter Sunday, we will become a “heavenly minded” people, strong, peaceful, and hopeful no matter what our circumstances. We will become living witnesses to the power of the resurrection.
Jakarta, April 21, 2011 [Holy Thursday]
A Christian Pilgrim