Understanding the Holy Fifty
Inspired by Fr Bishoy Andrawes
The church gives us 50 days to enjoy the resurrection of Christ. There is something special about this feast that we do not want to let go. We get something brand new during this season. It is a season of victory. It is the season where God changes our hearts.
Throughout the 8 weeks of Lent, our eyes were on the Cross. We wanted to crucify the old man and my habits so now is the time to live as the new man. During this season of resurrection, how do we receive the new man and victory in Christ?
We can fall into sin and rise again or we can be slaves to sin. Anyone can fall while they are walking. There is a difference between someone who fell, got up and kept walking and the one who falls, stays down and chooses to allow sin to control their life. Today, there is something in you. You no longer fight according to your own power. You have grace that gives you power and strength so you’re no longer enslaved under the law. You have grace that pulls you up. Something extra and powerful. God is planting His life in us.
To be a good person, I stop sinning. That’s not the truth. Not doing bad things and attending church does not make holy people, it makes you a church pew. If you become in the image of Christ, His love, His patience and His holiness makes you the person God wants you to be.
In Lent, we struggle to defeat the old man and the uprooting of sins. If these roots are now empty, something else will enter. We do not want to leave the roots empty, but implant the life of Christ within us.
If you have your arm in a cast and the cast comes off once the bone has healed, do you think you can move your arm right away? It will be painful to move. It did heal and the bones are healing but it’s not used to the movement. For this to happen, it needs practice. That’s exactly what God does in our lives. Doubts that I can’t move or I can’t do anything good are not true. You’re healing, the bad roots are out. You need to keep moving your arm little by little. This takes a lot of faith. God has worked in you. Now, use your members as instruments of righteousness. Walk while you have the light. When Jesus gave Lazarus new life, did he jump out of the tomb? No, he needed someone to untie him.
The grace of resurrection is given to us in 50 days so we keep noticing and practicing. When a cast is taken off, physiotherapy commences to re-train the muscles. This is our 50 days of spiritual therapy to move the muscles of righteousness. This is a pain of health and not of sickness as we grow in Him. Do not be discouraged when you fall. The dominion of sin is gone, but that does not mean we will not fall ever again. It means that when we fall, we rise.
If someone is done with his cast and tries to carry something but can’t and thinks their arm is still broken, this is not true. The arm is fine, it just needs some training. Some belief that it is okay. This is the same as a slave who has no control over sin. God has helped me, God has worked in me but I do not believe that I am capable of change.
We receive resurrection through the life of Jesus Christ but we need to believe in that. During this time, we celebrate His grace and His work in me that has given me living hope.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hopethrough the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”– 1 Peter 1:3
Hope is not, “I hope my grades get better.” Hope is in the resurrected Christ. When Thomas did not believe, Christ told him to touch His side and His hands. Why did Christ do that? It is impossible for an Apostle to preach Christ without experiencing the resurrection. It is impossible to a be a servant of Christ without experiencing the new man in resurrection. That is how I was. I was blind but now I see. I was dead but now I live. I experience this not every year but every Sunday! Resurrection is the miracle of Christianity.
Christianity is not about healing the sick. It’s not about making people better or nicer or kinder. Christianity is about resurrection. New life. New beginning.
My resurrection is dependent on Him and not on myself. The old man is gone. O Death where is your sting?