Blog # 465 He Lives
On the cover of an EASTER greeting I have saved for several years is a beautiful picture in bright pastel colors of a sunrise over a 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 breezes that remind us that it is a time of RENEWAL.
It is a beautiful card, and that seems to be 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 the 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 rabbits , jelly beans and Easter bunnies as well as Spring? That would seem close to the actual experience of most children in the US today, and of those engaged in the commercial enterprise that Easter has become.
With Christmas we can see a possible connection between the glitter, gift giving, and human joy of it with the birth of Jesus. So with Easter, we can see a connection between Spring and the Resurrection of Jesus. So with the colored eggs, jelly beans, and chocolate rabbits. But there is also a very real danger of these other items overshadowing the real meaning and value of occasions we are called to celebrate at Christmas and Easter. It would seem that for many in our current moment of history here in the US this has actually occurred.
Give yourself an honest answer to a question like this: Can you actually say the Resurrection of Jesus has a significant bearing throughout the year upon your personal identity, your everyday experience of life, your prayers, your joy?
With the answer to that question for many people being no, it is hardly a wonder that it is not very evident in the stores and in the lives of our children that the real meaning of our celebration of Easter does not come from the fact it is Spring or that we enjoy the colors tastes and sounds of it, but rather that God desired to love us so much that Jesus made Christmas happen, then lived out our human experience in all of its details but sin, and then told us in his blood the Father and we are worth all that he had to give.
That would be enough to celebrate. But that would only have brought us up to Good Friday. However today we celebrate Easter. He died for us. He gave his all. We love him for that. But the story continues. Raised from the dead, He lives!
How do I know? By living my faith in the Resurrected Jesus. Whenever I am assured of the 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, go to sleep, or wake from sleep in his name I know he lives. Whenever I discover 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 a chocolate rabbit, and much more valuable than them all. It is Easter. Jesus lives!