Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6:4-5)
The forty days of Lent are long. The span between Ash Wednesday and Easter follows the biblical length of preparatory time, getting us ready for the “new thing” that God is going to do. Israel endured 40 desert years, Jesus followed with 40 days in the wilderness. These lean and reflective days of Lent are designed to prepare us for an even longer season - Resurrection! In the church year, the season of Easter fills up 50 days, leading to Pentecost. I like how though the 40 days of Lent can feel long, it leads to an even longer season, 50 days, of intentionally celebrating and living out Christ’s resurrection. We need both reminders - the ongoing process of dying with Christ and the hopeful reality that we rise with Jesus over sin and death. As the Apostle Paul put it, “just as Christ was raised from the dead...so we too might walk in the newness of life.” During this Holy Season, we both remember that Christ identified with us and suffered on our behalf, but also that death could not contain him and that we who are in Christ are filled with the same power that raised Christ from the dead. He is risen! He is risen indeed!
I was reminded of this “newness of life” during a recent visit with a friend. He had gone through a particularly difficult season of life that included several “deaths.” There was much loss and sadness during this season. However, as we reconnected after many months, I was amazed at how good and creative God has been in his life. In ways he could not have imagined, the power of the risen Christ was bursting through all the areas of his life that had felt like plowed ground. It was a fresh reminder to me how, if we trust God and give the Spirit freedom to work over time, resurrection life is sure to come. It probably won’t look like we might envision it, but the One who raised Christ from the dead knows a thing or two about how to make dead things live. And, the Lord loves us and desires that we not only live but thrive.
During the Easter season at Mac Cov, we’ll be learning what newness of life looks like according to Paul’s letter to the Colossians. The group of believers in the town of Colossae were discovering what it meant to know and follow Christ; they were experiencing the excitement of being a new Christian community, as well as facing the challenges of what it meant to live out their faith in their pluralistic culture. As their pastor, Paul offers majestic theology rooted in Christ, as well as practical instructions for living out their Christian faith. I am excited to dive deep together into this brief but profound part of Scripture. May we faithfully follow Christ in his death and resurrection, walking in the newness of life!