I don’t know which we do first―looking upward or looking outward? Sometimes having a powerful worship experience helps us feel more connected with Christ, which causes us to reach out to the "others" God wants us to include in his family.
But sometimes it is looking outward first that leads to a fulfilling worship experience―as we reach out, we feel a need to worship the Creator of us all.
Easter reminds us to do both: look up and out.
The universe, human existence, and redemption are all gifts from God. The greatest gift of all and the model for Christian giving is God’s gift of his Son. For this reason, we look up. Paul writes, “You will glorify God by your obedience in acknowledging the gospel of Christ, and by the generosity of your contributions for them and for all others” (II Cor. 9:13). Paul, here, is connecting the two truths of Easter. Look up, acknowledge the gospel of Christ, and look out (reach out) to show others what God’s generosity looks like.
By looking upward and outward, our spiritual lives flourish. The same holds true when this principle is applied to the life and work of the church. By looking up and looking out, through the church’s work, the gospel is preached and people are reminded of the good news of Easter.
To make the Easter journey, then, is to walk with others, caring for them and being supported by them as together we look to the cross. This was the way Jesus made the journey; there is no other way.
Historic St. Paul's United Church of Christ, Schaefferstown, PA