In Christ This Easter Season
Dear Kaleid Ladies,
Where is your favorite place to hide away when the world feels crazy? Do you have a haven that is your safe place?
Imagine yourself in that space.
Where in your life do you feel the most vulnerable? Do you have a situation that spells immediate exposure for you?
Take yourself there.
To be a Christian is to live as one who is paradoxically, but safely, both hidden and exposed.
Let’s set the stage…
In the Scriptures, Paul has an interesting way of talking about “being a Christian.” Over and over, he uses the words “in Christ” or “with Christ” to identify himself as a Christian, or others as Christians, or to talk about the Christian population, at large. The term “Christian” actually only appears twice in the New Testament, whereas some version of being “in Christ” appears about 216 times in Paul’s writing.*
So, why does this matter to us?
This matters because it helps us imagine our faith, our beliefs, our Christian-ness, in fresh ways--in ways that reflect the mystery of what it actually is.
What does being “in Christ” involve?
Over the coming weeks, during the 50 days of Easter, we are going to listen to Paul’s words about what it means to be “in Christ” as we consider the invitation and the mystery that is bound up in these two words.
Now, back to hiddenness and exposure...
To be in Christ is to be hidden with Christ, in God. It is to be fully immersed in the death, resurrection, and future glory of Jesus. And, it is to be tucked into God’s grand plan of redemption for the universe via union with Jesus.
Colossians 3:1-4 says, “So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.”
A Christian is one hidden with Christ in God.
Take a moment to sit with the weight of this reality. You are hidden. You are with Christ. You are in God. Right now.
Furthermore, to be in Christ is to be called into a work of spiritual transformation that will necessarily include exposure--vulnerability.
Colossians 3:5-14 goes on to talk about the unclothing and the re-clothing work of being in Christ. Paul talks about exposing ourselves by disrobing from such body armor as impurity, greed, anger, deceit, and socially acceptable power-plays. He talks about being re-clothed with the vulnerable garments of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
To be in Christ is to willingly enter the world exposed, without our familiar self-protective garments.
Jesus walked through the world without the defensive, manipulative, self-shielding patterns that we all adopt to survive. He was strong, yes, but his strength included a willing vulnerability that led all the way to the cross.
A Christian is one who is willing to walk in the world vulnerably, because she knows she is hidden. We can lay down our patterns of hiding because we are hidden in Christ.
We close today with the conclusion of Paul’s thought in the third chapter of Colossians.
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Paul concludes by inverting the image of being “in Christ” and by talking about what we have “in us” because of Christ. Not only are we with Christ in God, hidden in Him and released from our ways of hiding, but also we have the peace and wisdom of Jesus inside of us as we move through the world in word and in deed.
We are in Christ. Christ is in us.
Is your mind blown?
Thanks be to God and blessings on your day,
The Kaleid Team