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I compose and post these articles with only one desire in my heart: to praise God and to offer modest help on your spiritual journey.

Friday, April 3, 2015

HE IS RISEN

This seemingly simple statement is so fundamental to the Christian
faith, that if it is not true, there is no Christianity. Christianity
is not based on a set of teachings. There is an old seminary question:
"if they should ever find the bones of Jesus, would you be a
Christian?" The teachings of Jesus and his disciples form the New
Testament, but this simple statement of faith forms the person who
calls themselves Christian. But there is something very universal that
can be shared with the unbeliever.

That Jesus was an historical person who was murdered on a cross,
buried in a tomb hallowed out of stone and then rose from the dead and
seen by people in various locations is fundamental to the Christian
faith. The ending becomes the beginning. Thus the Christian proclaims,
"oh death where is thy victory, oh death where is thy sting?" Life
that comes from humiliation, persecution, injustice, condemnation,
torture and death.

Easter is truly a celebration of life, especially the victory of life
over death. It is much more than the cute ubiquitous bunny, or the
chicks and colored eggs. It is life that emanates from suffering. In
its universal meaning, it is life that comes after the tornado, the
earthquake, the flood, whatever tragedy that befalls humanity when it
rebuilds, recreates reconstitutes itself.

The most powerful religious celebration for me is not the sunrise
service but the evening vigil when the Easter candle is lit from the
fire and then is shared with the congregation in darkness. It is the
proclamation of light in the darkness, sin is still in the world but
there is a light that when shared lights up the darkness. Evil cannot
destroy hope, cannot destroy love, cannot destroy life. Grace is
greater than sin. I would have liked a world that only knows the
sunrise but then I would not have know the power of love, the power of
grace, the power of a candle making a path through the darkness.

At Christmastime some of us pastors offer a "blue Christmas"
celebration since so many can become depressed when everyone is so
joyful and happy. Easter however is when we fully embrace the
suffering of loss and declare there is so much more life and love to
be found in the power of the resurrection.

May each of you who read this be blessed this Easter. However life
finds you in this moment, may you be strengthened and encouraged. If
you have reason the rejoice in the flowering of life, may you be
richer for the moments you have known sorrow. If you are suffering,
cling to the cross for Easter comes. May you have someone who stands
with you on the cross. He lives, and so can we live more abundantly.

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