Deacon Fournier: Because He Lives!
By Deacon Keith A. Fournier
© Third Millennium, LLC
"Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, Because He lives, all fear is gone; Because I know He holds the future, And life is worth the living, Just because He lives!"
It is rather odd for a Catholic Deacon to greet Easter Sunday, with the refrain from a Bill Gaither song going on inside of his head and heart. After all isn't that an evangelical Protestant hymn? However, that is precisely what happens to me on Easter Sunday. I find myself singing, "in my heart" the refrain of this popular evangelical Protestant song. Perhaps it is because of all my years of working with so many dear evangelical Protestant friends in pro-life work. I have long considered myself to be an "Evangelical Catholic", using the phrase almost two decades ago in my first book, back when it was considered controversial. Whatever the cause, I welcome the experience of this song coming to life within me on this great Day of Days, because it is used by the Holy Spirit each year to awaken faith within me.
The verses of this song provide a backdrop for some Resurrection reflections which I offer to you.
"Because He lives"
That tomb was....and is empty. Death could not contain Crucified, poured out Love.
The debt has been paid, the last enemy death has been defeated and heavens gates have been opened wide.
Because He lives we shall live forever in Him. There is a glorified Resurrected Savior seated at the "right hand" of the Father and He holds a place for you and for me! Through taking on our human nature He did what we could not do for ourselves. He suffered the penalty for all the wrong choices, the sins, the misused and abused exercise of freedom- of the entire human race. He bridged the gap that had opened wide between the Father, who had created us for eternal communion, and the sons and daughters who had rejected His invitation. He restored us to a higher place now, through His obedience unto death, even death on a Cross. Now, the stone is rolled away.
In His sacred humanity, He transformed the entirety of the human experience and invites us all into a new way, a way that beckons us to follow in His path and, when freely chosen, leads us to fullness of life now and eternal life and love in a world to come. He has torn the veil that existed between heaven and earth and opened up the beauty and hope of eternity for all who were once bound by the chains of time. He has given purpose, meaning and destination to the lost sheep wandering aimlessly in empty self pursuits. Because He lives!
"I can face tomorrow"
There is now a clear and unfolding plan and purpose in my life; and in the life of the world now being re-created in Him. We can face tomorrow. Because He lives, we can begin now to see our lives differently, if we open ourselves to His Spirit and allow Him to replace our finite vision with an eternal perspective; the new eyesight of those who walk by faith.
His redemptive mission continues on now, within us and through us to a world waiting to be born. He carries forward the redemptive promise through time in and through His Body on earth, His church, into which we have been baptized and of which we are now members. All of our tomorrows, however many (or few) there may be in this life, can now be filled with redemptive purpose. if we choose to live them "in Him."
We can find the meaning and purpose of eternity revealed in the temporal realities of every today and tomorrow. The real "stuff" of our mundane daily lives can become the ingredients of our own sanctification and the materials out of which the new creation is fashioned around us. The materials have not changed; we have, because He lives now in us. There is nothing we face alone now, no tomorrow that is not now redeemed and made new in the One who is timeless but who, out of love, came into time to redeem and transform it!
Life for a Christian is not circular but linear. It is always moving forward to fulfillment in Him, both personally and universally. There is a beginning - and an end - which is but a new beginning in the One who is Himself both the Beginning and the End. Time is now purposeful and unfolds into eternity, in Him who has entered time and transformed it by His life, death and Resurrection. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
"Because He Lives"
The dirt, the ground, which was fashioned through Him, and upon which He breathed and came forth the first man, that ground upon which He walked in His earthly mission and into which they placed His sacred, lifeless Body, that ground could not contain Him; when the time had fully come it opened and He Rose victorious from the dead!
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