Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ours the Cross, the Grave, the Skies

Happy fifth day of Easter!

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted head, Alleluia!
Made like him, like him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

It's easy to forget that Easter is a season, not just one Sunday. We spend fifty days in the white and joy of the Paschal season (not to mention that every Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection and thus a mini-Easter). So last year, I decided to do something for Easter just like I do something for Lent. I challenged myself to take a picture of the sky for every day of the Easter season.

Why the sky? The main reason was actually the fourth line of this fourth verse of "Christ the Lord is Risen Today." This is my favorite verse for sure, and I love that last line. Ours the cross, the grave, the skies! Yes, 'skies' can refer to the heavens and so to eternal life, but the literal sky is one of the places where we can see God's new creation everyday, and that's what Easter is all about. It's not the best picture of new life, since the sky isn't alive, but aren't sunsets and stars and patterns of clouds breath-taking when you stop and look at them? The skies show God's creation, power, and majesty everyday. I wanted to stop and remember that God is present in the world just as much now as God was when Jesus rose from the dead.

There's a lot I could say about this verse. It's all about following the Lord's example, about being the body of Christ for the world. Jesus was God, but He was also human, like we are, so we truly are made like Jesus, and with his resurrection we rise, too, and because Christ conquered death, we conquer death through faith. By God's grace and our faith in it we achieve eternal life, and we can do anything through Christ and the Spirit. The symbols of the resurrection and the life -- of Jesus -- becomes ours: the cross, the grave, and the skies.

It's important to remember all three, and none of them mean anything without each other. Good Friday is about the cross. Easter morning is about the empty grave, and it took the disciples a while to come to terms with the resurrected Lord. But after that, it's time for the skies.

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