Saturday, May 21, 2011
Blog #141 He Lives! Alleluia!!
Blog # 141 He Lives! Alleluia!! Confined to the house after the open heart surgery, I found the final weeks of Lent, Holy Week, and Easter were a different experience for me from all the others I experienced since ordination in 1954. In looking through some old files I came across an Easter greeting from about twenty years ago. On the cover of the greeting is a beautiful picture in pastel colors of a sunrise over a beautiful flower garden. Birds are singing in the trees. The words on the greeting are these: "As EASTER arrives, all the world celebrates SPRING with the blossoming of buds, the hymns of treetop birds, and nature's fragrant breezes that remind us it is a time of RENEWAL". It is a beautiful card, and that is a beautiful message, but there is much more to Easter than what it says. For example all the world does not celebrate Easter in the Spring. In the southern hemisphere Easter comes in the Fall. Though Easter comes in Spring for us, and that is a special blessing, it is not merely or mainly a celebration of Spring, as beautiful and appropriate such a celebration might be. Is it then about colored eggs chocolate candy jelly beans and Easter bunnies as well as Spring? It would seem that in what is the actual experience of many today the answer to that question is yes. With Christmas we can see a connection between the glitter the gift giving and human joy of it with the birth of Jesus. With Easter we can see a connection between Spring and the resurrection of Jesus. So with colored eggs jelly beans and chocolate rabbits. But there is also a danger of these other items overshadowing the real meaning and value of the occasions we are celebrating at Christmas and Easter. Try to give yourself an honest answer to a question such as this: Can you actually say the resurrection of Jesus has a significant bearing upon your personal identity, your everyday experience of life, your prayers, your joy? The real meaning and most important element of our celebration of Easter does not come from the fact it is Spring or that we enjoy the color and taste and sound of it, but rather because God desired to love is so much that Jesus made Christmas happen, then lived out our human experience in all of its details but sin, then told us in His blood we are worth all He had to give. That would be enough to celebrate. But it would have only brought us up to Good Friday. He died indeed. He gave His all. We love Jesus for that. But the story continues. Raised from the dead, He lives! Did you ask me how I know? Whenever I am assured of forgiveness of my sins in His Name I know He lives. Whenever I forgive someone else in His Name I know He lives. Whenever I pray or read the Bible or go to sleep or wake from sleep in His Name I know He lives. Whenever I discover in the gift of faith the meaning and value of suffering and death in His Name I know He lives. All of this is as real as Spring, as beautiful as a garden,, as pleasing as chocolate candy, and much more valuable than it all. I am writing this on the Fifth Sunday of Easter 2011. HE LIVES! ALLELUIA!!!