The “Third Week”: Week Twenty-Six/Session Three.
Theme: The Paschal Mystery.
Our reading for today: Romans 6: 1-11.
That’s what baptism into the life of Jesus means. When we are lowered into the water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus. Each of us is raised into a light-filled world by our Father so that we can see where we’re going in our new grace-sovereign country. Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin’s every beck and call!
What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, He took sin down with Him, but alive He brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did. (Romans 6: 3-11 MsgB)
So there you have it.
Ignatius’ “Third Week” is now in the books. A final “Fourth Week” awaits us as we draw ever closer to the conclusion of our eight-month Ignatian Adventure. In this “Third Week” we’ve been focusing on the Passion of the Christ. From the fullness of His joyous entry into Jerusalem to the emptiness of the Saturday after Good Friday, we’ve been watching the Master, pondering His every move during a week that is unlike any other in the history of mankind.
If you’re like me, stepping into Passion Week and letting yourself get caught up in all the emotion of these six historic days is like a roller-coaster that literally takes your breath away. And I guess that’s what the story is meant to do. Yet it’s clear from reading the rest of the New Testament that this Passion of the Christ is not just a story to be read but is a story to be lived.
Paul states it well here in his letter to the Romans. When you and I give our lives to Christ, as we enter into the baptismal waters and live out our lives here on planet Earth, we are choosing to enter into these same sufferings that the Master experienced during Passion Week. Our “old way of life” is being nailed to the cross with Christ, our flesh is torn, our blood spilled. In truth, living for Christ in this world can indeed become a crucifying experience. Just ask the martyrs throughout church history, or go to some parts of our world today where fellow believers are being tortured and imprisoned for the cause of Christ.
And while my walk with Jesus here in 21st century North America may not include torture or death, I do find that there are numerous opportunities given to me on a daily basis where the Master asks me to “die to self,” preferring His will over mine. So I guess, it’s vitally important for us to do what we’ve been doing these last few weeks…surveying the wondrous cross. In honor of our crucified Christ, let me close with the words from Isaac Watts famous hymn written in 1707:
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
My prayer: Jesus, never let me forget all You did for me at the cross. It was Your suffering and death that purchased eternal life for me. And this day, I simply want to say, thank You, Master. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So what does it mean for my life today that my “old way of life” is being nailed to the cross? What will it look like for me to “die to self” and live in such a way that Jesus is glorified in all I say and do?
So what is God speaking to you today as we ponder together The Ignatian Adventure?
Over an eight month period, you and I will be working our way through the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. For more information on our journey and how to begin…click here!