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Easter keeps you moving

April 23, 2014 No Comment

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by Robert Bugbee

“Therefore, beloved brothers of mine, become firm, unmoveable people, overflowing in the Lord’s work always, knowing that your toil in the Lord is not for nothing” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

You may recall scenes from the blockbuster film Titanic back in 1997. As the great ship slipped down into the ocean, that frightful reality had a visible impact on the passengers. Some became hysterical, wildly rushing around to find a lifeboat; if they failed in one spot, they promptly raced off to another, pushing, screaming, and jumping. In another touching scene, an elderly couple resigned themselves: they lay side-by-side in bed, quietly giving in to the sea water already pouring in beneath the door of their room. While these reactions appear radically different, one powerful truth was calling the shots. The ship is going down! It’s unstoppable! Frenzied pushing and quiet resignation seem like opposites, but they had this one thing in common: the sinking ship was controlling people’s minds, hearts, and actions.

The Apostle Paul is speaking to you along with the Corinthians who first received this letter from him. He’s calling you to be firm and unmoveable. That’s different from living a frenzied, rushing life where you dart from one thing to another, unable to rest and focus because hopelessness drives you like a spring wound tight. At the same time, this firmness has nothing to do with taking to my bed and giving up. This special brand of firmness shows itself in a renewed spirit that always looks for some new way to do the work of the Lord.

How can Paul ask you to live like this? It’s because he understands the controlling factor of your life is not a ship ready to sink. The controlling factor is not an illness, discord in your family, a bleak work environment, or the decay you see in human society in any number of areas. It’s true that you may have to grapple with every one of those things. But they are not the controlling factor. The controlling factor is this, says the Apostle: “Christ has indeed been raised from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:20). That glad message has power in it—power to keep you firm when there’s plenty that could make you shaky and power to bubble forth with new ways to glorify Jesus when it’s tempting to lie down and give in.

“Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.” That glad message has power in it—power to keep you firm when there’s plenty that could make you shaky and power to bubble forth with new ways to glorify Jesus when it’s tempting to lie down and give in.

We’re now marking Easter together with hundreds of millions of Christ’s followers across the world. The good news of Easter is unmistakably clear in the New Testament: Jesus of Nazareth, God’s only Son, shed real blood and died a real death on behalf of sinners. On the third day He was raised, not merely in visions or people’s imaginations, but in His body. Jesus’ resurrection has breath-taking results. It assures you that you will also be raised, that your dying body will be made new, that sin and death don’t get the last word.

“And therefore…” Paul writes. In other words, this is why you can be unmoveably firm and busy with hope, all at the same time. Both firmness and energy come from this one controlling factor, that God’s Christ has really been raised from the dead, that God’s Christ will raise you by His power, that God’s Christ is present, active and involved in every corner of your life.

To be sure, Titanic passengers couldn’t help but be affected by the shipwreck closing in on them. It was right there before their eyes. But for us in this moment, the Risen Christ is hidden from our sight (1 Peter 1:8). This is why you do well at Easter to spend time reading and meditating at length on the Bible’s record of Jesus’ resurrection, and all the ways in which the unseen Risen One keeps watching over and guiding His people (Acts 9:4-6; 18:9-10; Revelation 2:10).

Then take a sober look at the unsettling forces in your life right now that have you shaken. Standing above those forces, open your eye to see the risen Jesus, Who holds all power in His hand and will not let you go (Matthew 28:19-20). Look right into the face of the trends and tragedies that make you want to crawl into a corner and pull the covers up over your head. They do not have the last word. The last word comes from your resurrected Friend who brought new life out of the cemetery on Easter morning… who stays beside you, even when you don’t feel or see Him.

Look right into the face of the trends and tragedies that make you want to crawl into a corner and pull the covers up over your head. They do not have the last word. The last word comes from your resurrected Friend who brought new life out of the cemetery on Easter morning.

The fact of His resurrection is not “yesterday stuff” to be recalled quickly on Easter Sunday, and then forgotten. It is good news to be turned loose on your life right now so that you throw yourself into the work your Lord is giving you to do in your home, your church family, and in the needy world all around. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed. Alleluia!

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Rev. Dr. Robert Bugbee is President of Lutheran Church–Canada.

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