Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Daily Rising and Daily Dying: Easter 24 Hours at a Time

While many have now moved beyond Easter into other anticipated springtime rituals, the church has only begun its lengthily celebration. However, the reality of Easter stretches far beyond even this 'season.' It is an event that became real for each believer in the tomb and womb of Baptism. And this reality is a daily reality where dying and rising are part of the rhythm of life. As Luther has taught us from Romans 6, we know that "the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and newness of life." By God's grace we die each day to the slavery sin demands of us and the darkness of death's creeping shadow. Yes, we sin. And yes, we die. But these are not the defining aspects of our life in Christ. They do not have dominion in the Kingdom in which we live. The call of death, though, is the voice of repentance. We must die to live, and to die we must come clean on our sin.

However, in this Kingdom we also enjoy a daily resurrection of new life as Christ himself declares us forgiven. The absolution declares again the voice of God as he calls us his children and releases us from the penalty of what we rightly deserve. We are freed from the punishment. We are reassured of the life. We are raised and we live again. Death has no power. Sin is emptied of its force. We are alive.

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