The week before Easter I went to the Winter Jam with my son, which is probably where I got sick.
Winter Jam is an evangelical Christian concert with bands like Matthew West, Sidewalk Prophets, Newsong, and Toby Mac.
My seats were terrible (don’t get me started about the joys of open seating), but the music was great.
What really impressed me was the simplicity and power of the preaching. Those Christian bands really have the whole praise music/preaching thing down.
They preached a lot on the Resurrection. The message was simple. Make the power of the Resurrected Christ active in your life. So dynamic. So biblical.
It was inspiring and energizing. But I thought, is that all there is to it? Is that all you have to do? Tell people to allow the power of the risen Christ into their lives and everything is great?
Everyone cheered like they knew how to do it but I was left wondering–how do you do that exactly? It seemed a little vague. Of course, I’m not Evangelical Christian (and you probably aren’t either if you’re reading this). I don’t really know the lingo. Anyway, I was curious so…I looked it up.
Gospel.com defines Resurrection Power thus:
It’s the ultimate goal of every Christian to experience the power of Jesus’ resurrection. His resurrection represents a complete conquering of death and sin. When we give our lives to Christ, we become recipients of that power.
So Resurrection Power is the power of Jesus Christ, risen and alive, working actively in your life. It’s the power to conquer sin, to change your life, to become a follower of Jesus. It’s yours when you become a believer.
All well and good, but what’s a Catholic understanding of Resurrection Power? After all, we are in the Easter Season. We are celebrating Christ’s Resurrection. Christ rose from the dead conquering sin and death. How do we receive his power and have it actively affect our lives?
The passage that accompanied that quote from Gospel.com was Philippians 3:10-11:
I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
St. Paul tells us in Romans 6:3-4 how our union with Christ unites us to his death and the power of his resurrection. It happens through Baptism:
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
In fact, all the sacraments communicate to us the merits of Christ’s saving death and resurrection. Sacramental grace is the fruit of Christ’s passion. The saving work of Christ is given to us through liturgical actions like Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, and Reconciliation.
This is what the Catechism calls the “dispensation of the mystery.”
So, how do we receive Christ’s resurrection power? Through the sacraments…especially the Eucharist! There we receive his very Risen Body into our own and his life comes into our souls.
The Sacraments contain Resurrection Power. They are designed to channel his power, his grace, his life into us. This enables us to overcome sin, to think like him, to follow him, and to become like him.
I don’t think most people realize at all what’s really happening in the Sacraments.
Wouldn’t it be cool if we called it Resurrection Power? It sounds so expressive, so meaningful, so…powerful!
Maybe I’ll start. Maybe you should too!