Most people know the tension between living salvation on this earth and living eternal salvation in heaven as the "already, not yet." To reflect on this tension after Easter seems fitting, because all of history points to Christ's victory over the grave yet all of creation is still groaning for the completion of salvation (Romans 8). Today I am calling it post-Easter, pre-Eternity. I spent yesterday almost entirely in laughter. The day felt bathed with it. I am convinced there is something beautiful to be found in abandoning yourself to a good fit of ridiculous laughter. Yesterday, with friendships too new to feel so "old," I scrunched up my face and held my sides in a crazy fit of full body laughter. This, too, seems fitting to follow my Easter celebration. In fact, I imagine (call me a fool) that some people let out awkward laughter when they saw Jesus after news of the empty tomb got around. Everyone stood gawking and pointing (I imagine) and then there were those few whose laughter could be heard spilling all over the silence. Sometimes awe, wonder, joy, mischief, and glee can be communicated no other way.
So, there's this tension. Salvation is here, but salvation is coming.
We are wrapped up in the glory of what Christ gained in his victory over the grave. We are bathing in it like I imagine joyful laughter bathed Christ's post-resurrection steps. Tim Keller says, "The happy ending of the Resurrection is so enormous that it swallows up even the sorrow of the Cross." Even our sorrows drown in the ocean of joy called Christ's resurrection.
Yet, we all know we're living on this side of eternity. We recognize black-clad funerals and cold, gray gravestones as the painful pattern of our mortality. We are certain no one has found or ever will find the secret to living forever. We are (in our most honest moments) more certain of the fact that living forever in this present world would be filled only with anguish and affliction.
Today, I am claiming a common denominator. For those of you who know me, I am in no place to use a mathematical reference and even further from qualified to stretch it into something helpful for my ideas. Yet, here I go. A "denominator" is the bottom number of a fraction (like 2 in 1/2). A "common denominator" is when the bottom numbers of fractions are the same (like 3 in 1/3 and 2/3). In other words, I think post-Easter, pre-Eternity is kind of like 1/2 and 1/2 - two parts of a whole redemption story. The common denominator? I wonder if it is glory. I believe Christ's death and resurrection is all about bringing glory to God. I also believe our anticipation for Eternity is about bringing glory to God. This whole beautiful mess of a redemption story, from start to eternal finish is about glory going in the right direction - toward a most Awesome, Merciful, Compassionate, Just King.
In our (especially recent) post-Easter state, we are giving God the glory for the magnificent and finished work of Christ. In our pre-Eternity state, we are giving God the glory for a secure future in His presence. Whew! Here are two songs that come to mind when I think post-Easter, pre-Eternity. Sing along with them and let God's glory fill the skies! Join the angels in this forever song! Please don't miss the rich references to the Old Testament and how God is glorified in the ways His sovereign plan was revealed and His name praised long before it came to pass.
Skeleton Bones by John Mark McMillan
Peel back our ribs again and stand inside of our chest. We just wanna' love you We just wanna' love you
Peel back the veil of time And let us see You with our naked eyes We just wanna' love you We just wanna' love you
We want your blood to flow inside our body We want your wind inside our lungs We just wanna' love you We just wanna' love you
Skeleton bones stand at the sound of eternity On the lips of the found And gravestones roll To the rhythm of the sound of you Skeleton bones stand at the sound of eternity On the lips of the found So separate those doors And let the son of resurrection in.
Oh let us adore the Son of Glory drenched in love Open up your gates before him Crown Him, stand Him up
Holy is the Lamb by Coffey Anderson [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyWc4utukTA]
I saw the Lord, seated on the throne And the train of His robe filled the temple And angels sing all around me And the song that they sang was so simple All they cried was: Holy, holy is the Lamb Holy, holy is the Lamb Holy, holy is the Lamb Holy, holy is the Lamb of God
let LOVE fly like CrAzY