SEEKING AND SAVING - REFLECTION

 

What is God Doing?

I’ve never been much of a blogger or one to publicly share my insights and opinions beyond those I offer from behind a guitar.  Needless to say, these seasons in which we’ve offered our personal reflections on Lent and Easter and the songs we wrote for them has been a stretch for me personally.  I want to be honest about both the truths of God’s love, mercy, and power and about my own struggles, fears and questions. 

But the two things that usually make me stop reading a blog are, 1) when I feel like I’ve walked into a catechetical Chick-Fil-A, and everything is served clean and neat with a smile and a “my pleasure” attached.  Or, 2) when I feel like I just became a member of the audience on Dr. Phil and there’s way too much personal info out in the open that no one should’ve ever known.  The problem with both of these approaches is that neither one benefits the spirituality of the reader in a profound way.  

So, in a bid to offer you something meaningful for your own reflection and prayer, I will skip the details of where I’m at in life right now.  Suffice to say that I’m a real person, and I’ve been feeling some of the challenges and uncertainties of life lately.  I’ve been realizing the degree to which I don’t have control and don’t have security in my own plans. 

I’ve been wondering all the while what God is doing, if anything, to meet me in the midst of this experience of feeling a little turned around.

We’re in the heart of the Easter season, the celebration of Christ’s victory over death, the greatest feast in the Church.  So great that it lasts a full fifty days.  Everything should be sunshine and sangria, right?  Perhaps.  But, as I believe with all my heart that Christ rose from the dead conquering sin and opening the gates of salvation for all, the story that’s been playing out in the daily readings of the Church is hardly one of happy days and hard times bygone.  Honestly, the fact that it’s not has been comforting to me. 

On the contrary, we’ve seen how the Resurrection of Jesus - the very source of our greatest hope - caused confusion, fear, grief, and perhaps even division among those closest to Jesus, his followers.  These are the people that wanted to have him back more than anything, and they still struggled to grasp the reality of it when he did return.  It was over time through that first “Easter Season” that Jesus revealed himself once again to them: to Mary Magdalene at the tomb, to all but Thomas in the upper room, to Thomas through the invitation to touch his wounds, to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, and to Peter on the shores of the Sea of Galilee when he asked that painful question, “Do you love me?”

In doing so, Jesus shows us that his resurrection is not so much for “all of us” in general as much as it is for “all of us” in specific.  For all of us with a past of darkness that still haunts us.  For all of us with secrets, hidden struggles, and debts. 

For all of us too hurt by death and loss to hope that his resurrection is real.  For all of us with eyes that need to be open to his true presence in our lives.  For all of us who have discovered that our fear of the costs is greater than even our deepest desire to love and to give up our vices.  For all of these, he is risen from the dead.  

He also shows us that the event of his resurrection was only to precede many other things he would do.  So, now that we’ve celebrated Easter Sunday, what is God doing?  He’s coming to us.  He’s revealing himself to us again, right in the middle of where we really are in life with all its uncertainties, challenges, and experiences of being turned around. 

He’s reorients us from our distractions of sin and failure to our destiny of eternal life.  He’s truly confronting us with tenderness and precision to get to the heart of the things that separate us from him.  As he proves especially in his encounters with “Doubting Thomas” and “Peter the Betrayer”, he’s not afraid to push into the places that could be awkward, because he wants there to be no obstacles to our communion. 

Lizzy and I wrote “Seeking and Saving” about precisely this: that his resurrection is active.  God is doingsomething for us right now throughout this Easter season.  This isn’t a just a slow fade from a big celebration so we have time to eat the leftovers…this is a time of his coming to us, his breaking through the walls, his seeking of the lost. This might sound obvious, but the reality is that God has a plan.  He always has.  Sometimes it seems like he’s doing nothing, or like he’s doing something for everyone except for us, but when our eyes are opened, we will see he has never stopped doing the work of salvation for us and in us.  It is for this reason that “Alleluia” is our song.  

“For Christians, the Resurrection of Christ is the true Exodus.  He has stridden through the Red Sea of death itself, descended into the world of shadows, and smashed open the prison door.” Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

Written by Greg

Reflection Questions: 

1. Are there any places in your interior life that the celebration of Easter has not seemed to have a real effect?  

2. In the events after the resurrection, is there a specific encounter or follower of Jesus with whom you identify most?

3. What is God doing in your life right now? Where does he desire to encounter you? 

4. How is Jesus seeking and saving you, specifically?