The thing about Easter is that it’s really a combination of a memorial holiday for the single greatest event in human history – and a celebration of the promise, which that event secured for all of us who believe in it. Got it? A memorial of an event – and a celebration of a promise!
Easter is a joyful memorial of the triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ following his redemptive and sacrificial death on the cross! Without Easter, Christians would have no faith! It’s because of this historical event that we are gifted with the opportunity to know our Creator’s love and purpose, both individually and as a Church.
But Easter is also about the fact that Jesus is coming back! We don’t celebrate Easter simply because our Savior rose. We celebrate Easter because we know what it means to truly hope. We know that all the crazy, unjust, broken, perverted, mangled, and complicated junk we deal with in this world is eventually going to be made right. This mess we have made is not the end. A literal new beginning will come one day, and the perfect King will be in charge of making All Things new! He didn’t stay dead! He’s alive and coming back!
No matter how bad life gets, how hopeless elections seem, how unsecure the global economy looks, Easter reminds us that something incomparably better, real and lasting is coming. How does that sound? Hope it’s encouraging, because that’s what Easter is meant to be. Sometimes it can be hard to remember that through all the daily living. If you need help, we’re here.
If you follow the news, you will have noticed a great number of commentaries lately regarding the school shooting in Florida last month. When tragedy like this strikes our communities, it is natural to try to find a “why” answer and someone or something to blame. In addition, we hear and see a barrage of opinions and well-intentioned responses flood the media. But often, the issues that surface with the most robust activity are issues that are peripheral to the heart of the matter. It’s like trying to deal with a continuous oil leak down-stream, but never going up-stream to stop the oil flow.
When crisis does hit, it is fascinating to see the immediate human responses that do address the proverbial “oil leak.” There are three constants that we turn to, the value of meaningful faith, the importance of family, and how precious life is!
God is concerned with the crises in our lives. His concern is evident in the provisions he has given us and which, if we look very closely, are always there – especially when we need them most. When we wonder how and why circumstances can happen; when we wonder where God is when it hurts so terribly, faith, family, and life always rise to the top of our purview. We can’t deny it, because it’s where we always turn.
Scripture tells us that faith is being sure of what we have hoped for and certain of what we cannot see. That doesn’t mean that we are blindly assuming “it will all work out”. It means that we know that the bigger picture we have been promised and are relying on – God’s sovereignty and goodness – will eventually right every wrong. It’s confidence in His goodness, perfection, creativeness, wisdom, and power to do what nobody can imagine experiencing or witnessing.
Working with people from every background, faith and demographic over the years, it is clear that family is not just blood relatives, but is the community of like-minded individuals that know they can be safe with, dependent on, and courageous with. I have known families (and I would consider my own) to be made up of individuals from different parents, races, and countries. It is amazing to see the beauty and power of God’s grace in His idea of “brothers”, “sisters”, “mothers”, “fathers”, and “family”.
Perhaps most significant is the commonly shared belief in the value of life. When it comes down to it, we all believe in the sanctity of life and we demonstrate it in the shared tears and pain of loss.
There is a good God over all of this. He does provide. While we cannot simply sweep away the pain or the questions, we can help each other find a few comforting answers that let us know we are not forgotten; we are not forsaken; we are not alone. How powerful to note right before Easter, that here is hope because there is a returning redeemer one day. In the meantime, let us persevere together in faith, family, and audacious resiliency of life.