“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings…” Paul, Philippians 3:10
It’s been a long time coming, but spring, and with it, Easter, is finally upon us! Life is kind of like that. Sometimes there is a long winter, perhaps of sickness or sorrow or job loss. Often this is followed by a season of recovery, new opportunities and even joy. We get sick and then we get well. We lose a job and then find another. We lose someone we love but then experience more deeply the love of family and friends and the power of our faith.
Easter itself and the entire life in Christ follow this pattern. As Jesus died and rose again so his followers experience suffering and victory. This is, I think, what Paul is getting at in the passage I quoted above. There are many kinds of suffering common to the human race such as those caused by illness and aging, by isolation, by accidents, violence and death. I don’t think Paul is excluding these but he seems to be focusing on the rather unique trials experienced by those who know, love and follow Jesus. We are subject to being misunderstood, slandered and excluded by others. In many lands Christians are persecuted, jailed and even killed for their faith. In addition, we are under the hand of a loving Father who “disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness” Hebrews 12:10.
This may sound rough, but it’s simply true. The upside is that we are also sharing in the resurrection of Christ. He heals, he restores, he comforts, he strengthens. We experience Jesus’ presence, his love, his joy and his power. Beyond all of this, the Holy Spirit fills us with the hope of eternal life and the end of suffering.
April 21st is Easter Sunday! Come join in the celebration of Christ’s victory and share with your brothers and sisters at the Lord’s Table.
In Christ’s love,