What is the Meaning of Easter, of Christ’s Resurrection?
Devotional Thought of the Day:
When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:17-20 (NLT)
10 For all of us must appear before Christ, to be judged by him. We will each receive what we deserve, according to everything we have done, good or bad, in our bodily life. 11 We know what it means to fear the Lord, and so we try to persuade others. God knows us completely, and I hope that in your hearts you know me as well. 12 We are not trying again to recommend ourselves to you; rather, we are trying to give you a good reason to be proud of us, so that you will be able to answer those who boast about people’s appearance and not about their character. 13 Are we really insane? It is for God’s sake. Or are we sane? Then it is for your sake. 14 We are ruled by the love of Christ, now that we recognize that one man died for everyone, which means that they all share in his death. 15 He died for all, so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but only for him who died and was raised to life for their sake. 16 No longer, then, do we judge anyone by human standards. Even if at one time we judged Christ according to human standards, we no longer do so. 17 Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:10-17 (TEV)
As we prepare for our ministry , let us ask for the grace to be men and women of faith, evangelizers of the faith we have received. Let us hope that in these exercises the Lord will make us understand and realize that evangelization “is not an optional contribution for the Church.… This message is something necessary. It is unique. It cannot be replaced. It does not permit either indifference, syncretism, or accommodation. It is a question of people’s salvation . It is the beauty of the Revelation that it represents. It brings with it a wisdom that is not of this world. It is able to stir up by itself faith— faith that rests on the power of God (cf. 1 Cor 2: 4-5).” Let us be fully aware that it requires that we, as apostles, “consecrate to it all [our] time and all [our] energies, and … sacrifice for it, if necessary, our own lives” (1)
Coming our of our time of Lent there seemed a direction that our 50 days of Easter needed to take. Apparently, my congregation is not the only church needing to do this, my earlier -reblog of Bishop William Willimon is similar to it, as are the words from Pope Francis above. (Gee, can a Methodist Bishop, a Pope, and a Lutheran pastor agree on something?
There is a need for us to understand Easter. Not just understanding that Easter is about Jesus and His resurrection and not about chocolate bunnies with their ears nibbled off, or about those eggs you hid three weeks ago finally being found. There are enough blogs that at least try to being some religious focus to Easter. It’s not just about the cross and the empty tomb as past events. Or the fun stories about Thomas or Peter.
Easter has to be about salvation, ours, our neighbors, our families, our friends, and yes even our enemies.
Jesus did rise from the dead to make sure there was a holiday to plan spring break for, or to create a few pages in history books, and a few more in theological primers. He died and rose in order that each of us could know that because He is risen, we have risen with Him. That those who struggle with sin, and so many of the ways it complicates life would know they are forgiven as well. That this news radically changes their lives. changes our lives.
Do we, as Willimon asked in his letter,believe in eternal life as we say we do in our creeds?
If so, are we so callous that we would want people to remain ignorant of His love that makes this possible? Or will we love, even as God loves us?
Lord Have Mercy on Us!
(1) Pope Francis; Jorge M Bergoglio (2013-11-18). Open Mind, Faithful Heart (p. 33). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.