In the life of faith, there is no higher point than Easter. Jesus Christ is risen. God has power over death, and this is the reason for everything else we do. We can go backward to Easter and see how the glory of Jesus’ resurrection informs our identity. When we look at it, we can see how we come into a relationship with God through Jesus’ transformative act. This is not a transaction. We do not exchange our profession of faith for eternal life. God changes us into new beings when we acknowledge who Jesus is and what Easter means for humanity.
When we talk about loving our neighbors, we do it because God first loved us and because Jesus sacrificed his life for us. His sacrifice on Good Friday is not the whole story. It’s the first part. Jesus’ sacrifice has meaning because of Easter. Real love might mean laying down one’s life for one’s friends. Yet, that kind of sacrifice does not lead to redemption because we do not have power over death. God does. On Easter, we see this power manifest and nature itself seems to testify to God’s love.
After Easter, or any other big event, we face the temptation to move on and focus on what’s next. Before moving on, think back to Easter. Remember singing “Christ the Lord is risen today…” or “Up from the grave, he arose…” Easter does not have to end. It can be the centerpiece of what we do and how we see ourselves.
In our church, we will soon begin reaching out in various ways. We will share ice cream and other goodies with the people who walk by the church. During the week, the sanctuary will be open, and we will invite people to come in and enjoy some peace and quiet in the middle of the city. This summer, our church will play softball and more people will come into the church for worship.
We do not do these things for the sake of doing them. It is because of Easter. Sharing ice cream can lead to a meaningful conversation, and we might start one while handing someone a soft-serve cone. We open the sanctuary because the God of resurrection can speak in the still, silence of the sanctuary God can give a weary person peace. Softball and worship are opportunities to gather in the name of the one who conquered death.
Keep Easter in your heart and look ahead to the celebration of the ascension of our Lord (May 16), Pentecost (May 23), and Trinity Sunday (May 30).