The Joy of Easter
I sat through the Passion play in church yesterday taking the various emotions in. It doesn’t matter that we have the portrayal of Jesus’s passion and death on the cross every year, it never ceases to fill me with awe, to know someone endured all this pain, because he loved us. This year, I was also struck by the similarities I saw in life. Growing up, I could never understand how all the disciples and people watched Jesus perform so many miracles and yet when it mattered most, no one believed in him and most people deserted him.
It occurred to me we are no different today than all the people we read about in the Bible. How many Christians take miracles and blessings for granted? How often do we forget to give thanks when we pray for something and it happens? Many of us turn around and let everyone know how great we are, and boast in our accomplishments. We forget all those nights we cried and prayed, and then it happened. Are we really any different from those who walked alongside Jesus and saw his miracles and benefited from him?
We all struggle with unbelief. It doesn’t matter if we got the job we prayed for so ardently or the good Lord blessed us with a baby we yearned for. The next time we face a crises, we don’t think of turning to him. We whine and complain. We, like Peter turn our backs on our maker, forgetting all he has done for us. With time, we turn back and return to God and he like the merciful Father he is embraces us and forgives us. He teaches us to pray, like Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. If possible this problem or difficulty should be taken away from us but not our will, his should be done. Often times, when we get to the point of surrender, when it appears like all is lost, that is when the good Lord, shows us his power and often times gives us more than we even asked for or imagined.
When Jesus finally died on the cross, it seemed like life was over for his mother and all the women who sorrowed after him and his other disciples who still believed in him. What happened to the hope of the Savior? The one who was supposed to deliver the world is now dead. What about all those miracles he performed? As the hecklers said when he was hanging on the cross, he saved others let him save himself. Was this really happening? Did they imagine the power of this great man had? He had even healed the ear of one of the soldiers after Peter cut off his ear that very day. How could this be?
Can you imagine their joy on Easter morning when they approached the burial site and saw an empty tomb? Could this really be? Was it even possible? Could he have risen from the grave like he said he would? Can you even imagine the wonder and amazement when they saw the risen Christ? The beauty of it all, this risen Savior, is still Lord today. He still lives and advocates for us today. He is still our Father, who walks with us when we have problems with our teens and families whigh seem insurmountable. He is still present with us, when we go through difficulties that seem endless. He comforts us in our sorrow and gives us hope that though it may seem to be the end, there is always a new day and new hope.
Easter is a wonderful time in our Christian faith. Easter is the reason for the joy we feel no matter what we face in our life. Isn’t it amazing how after Jesus arose from the dead, he sought out Peter and forgave him and commissioned him to lead his people? That story always gives me hope. Our Lord is merciful and kind and he does forgive us when we are remorseful and acknowledge our need for him. The same way we should find it in our hearts to forgive those who offend us, including our children, when they let us down and we feel that our hearts will break. We are all a work in process. I thank God that he is so merciful and forgives even when we inadvertently make the same mistakes over and over again.
Easter is a season of hope. It is season of joy and new beginnings. It is a time of renewal of our faith. Let us reach out and grasp the grace so freely given to us, and live our lives so others may see the hope of the resurrection in us.