Day 26: Reconciliation and Resurrection
Illustration: Juliana Crownover
By Kevin Dodge (email)
This week, we begin the last third of our Lenten journey. We have already traveled a long way. We began with the need for repentance and moved on to our very real need for a deeper relationship with God. In the second week, we explored the mystery of sin and how it affects our souls, our relationships, the Church and world. We discovered that although sin has corrupted God’s creation, this doesn’t thwart God’s plan to bring good things out of bad. Last week, we started to observe the remedy for our fallen condition in the Sacraments which offer a mysterious remedy to our spiritual suffering.
However, this week, we turn the corner. We start to focus on the opportunities God provides us to reconcile with Him. Many things get in the way of this reconciliation – idols, disease, death and unbelief, to name a few. As humans, we have an uncanny ability to choose the things of the world which are in front of us instead of holding out for the better things God has to offer which are subtle and invisible.
The big question for this week is how we’re supposed to live while we await with expectation Christ’s return. The Church has been expectantly waiting for two-thousand years. We might cut ourselves a little slack for having a healthy skepticism that this is going to happen in our lifetimes. Yet wait expectantly we must. In the meantime, God is giving us opportunities to grow spiritually and in love toward others.
True reconciliation with God is not about having all our problems neatly solved. It’s about recognizing that we can start to experience the wholeness Christ offers us if we draw closer to Him. We’ll also realize that there is still great resistance to the work of God in our lives, both externally in the culture and internally in ourselves. Yet progress in the spiritual life is about coming to prefer the things of God over what the culture has to offer.
When God offers to be in relationship with us, He is offering us something remarkable. This is not a panacea – we will no doubt continue to have grave problems in our lives. But God is offering us the ability, no matter what the problems, to have a perspective on life that is different from those who have no hope. When we come to the point of indifference (not apathy, but indifference) about what happens to us – life or death, sickness or health, riches or poverty – we become truly free. And when we become truly free, we are able to serve Christ and the people we love in a whole new way. Our joy has the chance of becoming ever-greater because with the Psalmist we cry out, “What can flesh do to me?” (Ps 56.4). In short, when we become free, we start to become real disciples.
This genuine freedom is unfortunately lacking in most Christians. Sure, we become nicer, quieter and more mature. But are we really embracing the full panoply of gifts that God has offered us? Are we experiencing the freedom and joy of not being pinned down by worldly cares? Are we experiencing the freedom that comes from not caring what others think about us?
Tomorrow, we explore the true wisdom that is only found in Christ, a wisdom that can transform us. On Tuesday, we observe that idolatry – loving anything in place of God – is a barrier to our reconciliation. On Wednesday and Thursday we observe the spiritual and physical healing promised in resurrection, a healing that Christ modeled in his own resurrection. On Friday, we see how death has become our greatest enemy, an enemy only Christ can conquer. Finally, on Saturday, we explore what true reconciliation is about, observing that God is calling us to a life of discipleship with Him. Above all, we’ll discover that true reconciliation with God is not only possible, but necessary to be a disciple.