Post date: Feb 25, 2016 7:17:33 PM
Dear People of God,
Practically the whole month of March we are in the season of Lent. Lent: that perhaps most honest season of the church year, when we focus on the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Gazing at the cross we realize there is really nothing we can do to work salvation for ourselves. Our salvation is all the gracious gift of God to us through Jesus. At some point, we must simply stand in awe-filled silence for a while at the foot of the cross and exclaim, as we do on Good Friday, “Behold the life-giving cross on which was hung the salvation of the whole world.”
And having done that, having truly meditated on the trial, suffering and death of Jesus, we are then ready to truly celebrate the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday, March 27 this year. I admit I even have a hard time calling that Day of Days, “Easter.” The word Easter actually comes from a pagan word about spring time and fertility. “Eastre” was the Teutonic goddess of spring. I would much rather call it, “The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.” I know—that’s quite long. Maybe we could just say, “Resurrection Day” or “The Resurrection of Jesus.”
But for simplicity sake it really is OK to call the day “Easter”, as long as we mean by that much more than ham and bunnies and eggs and flowers and candy. The death and resurrection of Jesus really is what our Christian faith is all about. Without the death and resurrection of Jesus there is no church and our faith is in vain.
As the Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15, often called the resurrection chapter: “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:17-22.
Now, that’s not to say that our Christian faith is only about a thankful heart and mind. It starts there. But having freely received the gracious gifts from God of forgiveness, life and salvation, we then want to, and are indeed empowered by the Spirit to share the joyous good news of Jesus through caring words and loving deeds with our neighbors.
Christ has died! Christ is risen! Christ will come again!