Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Has Easter Lost Its Meaning?
What will you be doing this Easter Sunday? Spending time with family and friends? Sharing a meal? Or perhaps you've chosen to take a vacation. If so, you are blessed. But there are many who do not have family and friends. Others don't have money to put food on the table much less take a vacation. Some will be working hard this Sunday. Theirs is quite a different Easter.
Statistics show church attendance continues to drop, yet the innate hunger we feel to be spiritually fed and comforted is still within the human heart. We search for avenues to assuage our guilt, our pain, and our shame. Many hide under a facade of fancy clothes, a big house, or the latest techno gadgetry. But God sees the heart. He sees the pain, the shame, and the guilt that burden us. He wants to set us free from all of these and that, my friends, is the meaning of Easter.
Easter is a time for renewal and for forgiveness. It is a time to let go of the old, and embrace the new. It is a time to let God heal our heart, by filling it with the great love he has to offer us through His son, Jesus Christ. It is up to each of us whether or not we choose to receive this love.
As a soul who has endured much pain in this life, I am thankful for the love of God, for His great grace and mercy in my life. I am not perfect. I sin many times, sometimes daily. But I know, through the blood of Christ, I don't have to bear that burden into tomorrow. My life has been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb; so in a spirit of humility and thankfulness, I offer some reflections on what Easter means to me, and I trust that they will encourage and comfort you. When we pause to look at the cross, somehow it puts our "light and momentary afflictions" in perspective.
Easter reminds me that:
- I have another opportunity for transformation and change
- miracles still happen if we have eyes to see
- God's grace is sufficient for me
- Jesus paid the price for all my sins and mistakes
- God is always there no matter how far away I drift from Him
- no matter how dark it may look on Friday, Sunday is coming
- when I wonder "Does God really love me?" all I have to do is look at Jesus' outstretched arms on the cross and hear him say "I love you this much"
- when I am suffering, I know Jesus has suffered so much more than I ever will and that makes my pain more bearable
- no matter what I have lost or how much I have been hurt or mistreated, God can bring me healing and peace
Easter still has meaning for those of us who choose to visit the cross. Yes, it takes courage. Yes, it takes boldness and strength, but remember the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi who wrote these words:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
May this Easter fill you with the love of God, heal your broken places, and make you new.
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Until next time, keep looking up!