Christ the Lord is Risen Today
By: Charles Wesley, 1707-1778
Listen as you read. This is a nice instrumental ambient version.
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The first and last lines give us the opportunity to consider an interesting tension between the standing and experience of every believer. It is this simultaneous nature of the now and not yet that exist in our relationship with God, at least from our perspective. Take a few minutes and enter into the reality of this tension today.
First, let’s deal with this whole idea of soaring…
And when (Jesus) had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. Acts 1:9 ESV
It is very difficult for me to imagine what that moment must have been like for those disciples as they stood on that hill and witnesses Christ’s Ascension into heaven. I try to place myself in that moment. Those final words of instruction and inspiration. The goodbyes. The emotions. The tears.
But another moment is like it, both in the wonder of it and my inability to imagine it. One day we will soar with Christ! And not just in a poetic sense, but at the very least in an other-worldly, hard to imagine what it will really be like, enjoying the Kingdom of God in all it’s fulness kind of way. It will be so unlike our current existence that I am certain I do not have the capacity to conceive of it, yet I fully believe it will be true.
Why? Because I believe the chronology of the last line is equally true.
Cross, Grave, Skies
Second, let’s consider our path…
Jesus commands us to take up our cross daily in Luke 9:23. While this invitation certainly is declaring His path of self-denial, we vicariously experience each of this things through Christ’s obedience to the Father. In the next few verses Jesus talks about losing our lives for His sake, and goes on to allude to the opportunity to share in the glory of the Father if we embrace His teaching and way of life. Cross, death, glory looks a lot like cross, grave, skies.
And while our path will not be exactly like that of Jesus because we do not have to actually be crucified for the sins of the world because He already did that, our journey will have similar elements to it. Embracing the Father’s will and dying to ourselves that we might enjoy the benefits of those decisions.
Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 ESV
Time and Eternity
If we are going to follow Jesus, we are inspired to go all the way so we may share in all that Paul alludes to when he says this in Ephesians 2:6-7.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
What Christ accomplished in His crucifixion, death and resurrection is so certain that though it happened in the past, it is as if it has already happened in the future as far as God is concerned. Not only is this true because God’s will is such a definite thing, but there is another way that I like to think about it.
We are bound by time so what has not yet happened is impossible for us to experience. The same can not be said of God. Because He is eternal there is a sense in which everything is happening all at once for Him: creation, redemption and the re-creation, everything. It other words, for God everything is now. I like to refer to Him as the “Great Eternal NOW”!
For Him there is no such thing as not yet, because it is all now. For us there is a sense of not yet, because we are not soaring and neither the skies, or the grave for that matter, are ours yet. So, there is a sense in which our soaring is both now and not yet because for God it is now, and for us it is not yet.
What I hope is the result of imagining this is a deeper longing for the eternal perspective of things because I believe that shapes how we choose to live today, since eternity for us has already begun, even though we wrestle to grasp it.
Jesus, thank You for accomplishing something in time that has changed eternity for me. Thank You that not only are the cross and the grave mine, but so shall the skies be. I believe I will soar. Help me live today like that is true, since it is. In Jesus name. Amen.
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Video 40.4, 5.4 Reframed
Welcome to Tuesday Tunings at Resonant 7, where we reflect on the reality of God and resolve to let it resound in our lives, repeatedly. Let’s tune our hearts.
Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Foll’wing our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!
After appearing many times to His disciples after His resurrection, Jesus’ final appearance culminated with a grand exit. He ascended into the clouds, and in so doing led the way for us. Thank Him that one day you will follow Him, and soar to realms on high.
Jesus, thank You for allowing me to soar.
We are the Church, and Christ is our Leader, or Head. Where He goes, we will follow. That will never be more true than when He calls us home, either from our final resting place or our daily living. Are you ready to hear your name called? If so, praise Him! If not, why not?
Jesus, help me follow You.
Jesus rose in Resurrection glory. Whether we rise from a grave like Him or simply leave earth behind, we will be made like Him. Though our flesh is destined to decay, we will be raised incorruptible. Let that overwhelm your heart even now.
Jesus, overwhelm my heart.
He taught us to take up our cross, and we struggle to learn to deny ourselves daily. If He does not come back first, some of us may face the reality of the grave. Even still, all of us will follow Him into the clouds, the culmination of following His example. Ask Him to help you be ready.
Jesus, help me be ready.
Take a few moments to talk to Jesus about what has surfaced in your heart, or just listen to what He is saying to you, then we will sing once more.
Take the awareness of God’s presence cultivated in these last few minutes into the next ones and beyond. Until next time, Be Resonant.