If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. – Colossians 3:1-4
Interesting realizations have emerged is the time of this pandemic shut-down. Couples and families found themselves together at home all day long, where prior to the pandemic they saw each other for only a few minutes after long days of work, school, etc. To be sure, some couples and families experienced tension and conflict because they were not used to being together all the time. Distance Learning for the children and working from home for the adults pushed the limits of computer hardware, internet connections, and patience.
Blessings also appeared. Families dusted off old board games and jigsaw puzzles. Storytime for the children returned. Meals together at home became the norm again. And some admitted to finding more time for Bible study, worship, and daily devotion. The shut-down meant that the movie houses, restaurants, bars, malls, fitness centers, and most other retail outlets were closed. Americans had to refocus on how to spend their time.
This pandemic shutdown is a time for every Christian to take Paul’s words to heart. “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” We have been raised with Christ, beginning in our baptism. In that water our old sinful ways died. It is easy to set our sight on things of the world. Like bright bobbles entrance a pet cat, so the things of the world attract our attention and threaten to entrance us. With many of those worldly pursuits locked down now, we have time to “seek the things that are above.” Faith, forgiveness, hope, joy, love for God, love for neighbor, eternal life. “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
This earthly life is temporary, and trouble bound. Paul says our real life is “hidden with Christ in God.” In other words, in faith in Christ we possess eternal life right now. When we die here on earth, we don’t really die. The people of the world, without faith, believe when you die, that’s it. You are gone, your body returns to dust, end of story. No wonder the things of the world are so valuable to them. If this life is all there is, then you better make the most of it, pursue pleasure as much as you can, and gather possessions as many as you can.
But in Christ we know this world is not all there is. After this life there is another life. A life with God, saints, and angels in heaven. A utopia, a paradise, beyond our wildest imagination. Yes, we will die on this earth and leave our bodies in the grave. But Paul says, “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” We will rise from the grave and live again! As Christ our brother arose, so also we will rise. Knowing that truth motivates us to seek the things that are above, to live now for God who made eternal life a reality for us, and to be prepared for Christ’s coming.
When we look back on 2020 perhaps we will see it as a special time when God gave us new opportunity to grow in knowledge of His Word, in faith in Christ, and in love for one another.