Christ is Risen! Is there a phrase that has impacted humanity more than those three remarkable words? In my opinion the answer is, no! my dear Siblings. Easter is upon us and that phrase will resound in churches around the world on Easter Sunday and the 40 days that follow in our post Easter season. And we will respond to that proclamation with our affirming, “He is risen indeed!” I do not know about you, but it is my favorite time of the year.
Easter is the most joyous season in the Church year. I love the way our Church calendar ebbs and flows with seasons of anticipation, self-reflection, revelation, mourning, and ordinary time. It really does mirror the actual seasons of our own life, reflecting the ups and downs, highs and lows that periodically intrude upon our ordinary time. Of course, life does not exactly mirror that order of the seasons of the Church, but it does speak to a reality of what life is like on this side of heaven. Being somewhat of a realist I appreciate that we do not have to hide behind a façade of everything is always just peachy because we are Christians.
That would certainly be disingenuous and not reflective at all of the scriptures as they testify to a life of faith in the One True God. I still get a kick out of the reactions and emotions of those of you who regularly participate in our weekly Bible study when you hear a story you have never heard that reflects a reality different than the Sunday School stories that most are familiar with. Of course, we love to hear the stories of how God rescued His people or acted in miraculous fashion to bless His people. It can be quite shocking to hear about the not so warm and fuzzy moments when the realities of a broken world shatter the bubble of the idyllic world we talk about in Sunday School. As the saying goes, “Stuff happens” even to the most faithful people. You Bible study folks know what I’m talking about.
No matter what season we find ourselves in personally or in the Church calendar we always have, “Christ is Risen!” and all it represents. The empty tomb represents the fulfilment of the promises of God to always be with us and the depths of His love. I could get all theological with you all, but the theological aspects of the resurrection are not what makes Easter my favorite season. Truly it is the hope that Mary and the other women discovered when the looked into that cave and saw only the burial clothes that had adorned Jesus at His burial. Sure, it took a while for them to understand, but from that day forward they knew without a shadow of a doubt that everything Jesus taught them and revealed about God the Father and the Holy Spirit were absolutely true.
Their lives were never the same after that! The joy of that first Easter morning remained a permanent fixture each and every day for the remainder of their earthly lives. As they experienced the ups and downs, the challenges and triumphs, every high and low and the ordinary times they knew that despite Jesus no longer physically being present that He is Risen! Despite His death He lives and He will live forever in our hearts, in our lives and not just in thought, but because of the gift of the Holy Spirit we are united with Him forever. For me it is the full realization of Emmanuel, God with us. That is something I rejoice in every day and why I love the Easter season and that joyful proclamation. Christ is risen! On Easter Sunday and the other 364 days of the year.
Yours in Christ,