Well-ness Words:  Mind, Body & Soul

Living the Resurrected Life

By Pastor Iraida

(This written piece is a revised version of “Living the Life,” from April 2014, written after a season of preparation for my interview with the Board of Ordained Ministry and learning that the Board affirmed me as an elder in full connection in the United Methodist Church for ordination at the Annual Conference in May 2014. I had been running away from God’s purpose in my life for too long, but finally, it caught up with me. Amen!).

What if Jesus had given in to John’s feelings of unworthiness to untie the sandals on Jesus’ feet, had given in to the temptations offered by Satan, had chosen to “unfriend” the twelve disciples because of their failure to figure out his riddles (parables), would have chosen any other day besides the Sabbath to perform miracles, had chosen to give Peter professional swimming lessons instead of allowing him to try to walk on water, would have decided to take the multitude out to dinner to experience fine dining instead of feeding them with fish and bread straight out from a child’s basket, would have taken the water out of the well himself instead of asking the Samaritan woman for water, had chosen the broader way instead of the narrow path, would have decided to die a different death, at a different time, and under normal circumstances?

Decisions and choices seem easy enough. We make them all the time, don’t we? And we too often pay high prices for it.

God always has our BEST interest at heart and plans the BEST for us. Why, then, is God’s success rate so seemingly low? When we make choices and decisions that do not align with God’s plan and purpose in our lives, we fail miserably because we don’t measure the consequences of our actions and inactions and end up affecting ourselves and the lives of many others around us.

God fearfully and wonderfully created each of us with a unique purpose in life. God’s plan for us is a life of abundant joy, love, peace, and hope in a tangible Kingdom that is livable here and now and eternal and flawless. On the other hand, we insist on living our lives constantly derailing ourselves from that path and purpose. We continuously run away from ourselves, determined to find our purpose in life that is suitable to us in our manner, and in this running, we are exhausted, weary, and lost. And even worse, we alienate ourselves from family and friends. Can we separate ourselves from the love of God even when we have driven ourselves to feel separated from God?

Paul, in his letter to the Romans in chapter 8, sheds some healing light our way and provides us with an opportunity for reconciliation with God, self, and others:

“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than coquerers through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, niether the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Jesus chose to humble himself, resist temptation, walk with us despite our human condition, and show us that we should love ourselves, our neighbors, and God above all things, no matter what day of the week. Jesus taught us of God’s faithfulness, riches, and abundance by sharing a meal as little as it may have seemed. Drinking living water sends us running to witness and testify to the love of God. Jesus chose to walk that narrow path to Calvary and bore our sins, stubbornness, shame, doubts, fears, arrogance, and humanness. God’s giving of God self to be with us, teach us, love us, heal us, care for us, die for us a death of cross which pours on us the crimson red blood of the Lamb that takes away our sins, washes us of our transgressions until clean and makes us pure as white snow. Through this love called Jesus, there is a resurrection that promises us a new day, birth, and life with the Holy Spirit to guide us, comfort us, counsel us, and lead us from this life into the next, and we are never alone.

We cannot boast of God’s actions for us, with and through us. It’s called grace, and grace is an unmerited gift from God. But to boast about the right choice and the decision that we have made to follow God and to accept God’s will in our lives and desire God’s purpose even when it goes against our flesh desires, dreams, and passions is called witness (2 Corinthians 10:17, “Let he who boasts, boast in the Lord”)! And it is this which we celebrate! It is our daily resurrection! Like Jesus told the crowd in his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, “…if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40b)

What was your wilderness journey like this past Lenten season? In what ways did you experience closeness with Jesus, personal growth, healing, spiritual awareness, and mindfulness? Did you experience an alignment with God’s will and purpose in and for your life? How are you celebrating this gift? If you find yourself in the in-betweens, don’t stop now! Keep pressing on!

Live life as the resurrected people in Christ that we are so that others may live the life!

In Christ,
Pastor Iraida