Blessed By Resurrection

So in my last post I described the Paschal Mystery to you. The passing from death to new life. A spiritual cycle that we live daily as we die to ourselves and follow Christ. It is at the point of releasing the old that we get choice, and the effects of that choice are either spiritual growth or stagnation/decline
 
Up until recently, this has been hard for me to grasp. Particularly in the area of my relationships. Upon experiencing my miracle and beginning my restorative journey, I made a point of attempting to reconcile with every significant person that I had wronged. This was an arduous task, humbling and extensive because of the many bridges that I had burned.
 
While I knew that the relationships would not be the same (which in many ways was going to be a good thing), with the additional hurdle of trust being reestablished – I did have hope that fences could be mended and the relationships healed. In fact, at first that seemed to be true. Among the closest of my friends, I was told “I want to pick up where we left off”, “I’ve missed our friendship and I’d like to begin getting together again” and “let the bromance begin”.
 
Yet, one by one, these relationships have fallen off the map. Without words, avoiding explanation, the resuscitated patients died on the table. In hindsight what I can see is that these false starts were efforts by some at resuscitation. Not accepting the new man God was crafting, not being honest, avoiding the tough stuff, just trying to put things in the past.
 
God wants resurrection, new life, not a continuation of the old. This is not to say that all these relationships had to end for resurrection, but there had to be changes. There had to be a new spirit.
 
One ‘death’ in particular was very hard to take. One of my best friends all along. Someone whose path I seemed to be walking. Himself a former pastor. Had an affair. Marriage died. Spent time in the desert. God restored him to church leadership. I identified in his story. Yet, without warning, this friend got busy. Too busy to meet. Too busy to return calls. Too busy to respond to emails with any depth. Too busy to even explain what was wrong. I felt abandoned…I was abandoned.
 
It was a tragic death.
 
I spent a lot of time grieving this loss. We were on the same path. He much farther along. But he had been where I was treading. Up against his wall, spending time alone in his desert, experiencing new life. A friend of mine watching me struggle with this death and far in advance of me coming to understand the Paschal Mystery, had given me the counsel that I should look at how the relationship, and its demise, had blessed me.
 
I was stuck on grief and didn’t know what to do with this advice. I was clinging to the old. Almost blindly grasping; lacking true wisdom, I wanted the old back. Resuscitation.
 
As God was guiding my life back to ministry, as I was experiencing the reality of His restoration, I began to understand what the blessing God wanted me to take away from this relational death. The value that was to be reproduced in my life. Don’t fall back into the old ways. Don’t return to your vomit. Do not be consumed with busyness. God is working a new thing. This path is His. But I have to be careful where I step.
 
I cannot again find my identity in what I do or what people think of me. My identity needs to always be firmly established in Christ. Period. Resurrection.
 
The blessing for me, was the reminder that I must keep my guard up against the pull of my root sin, the pride that battles against my new nature. That is my daily denial of self, before I take up my cross, and follow my Savior.
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