Easter And New Life
This Sunday will be Easter Sunday, one of the two Sundays people turn and go to church whether they do the rest of the year or not. The other one is Christmas. We will expect a near full house and people will most likely be dressed a little differently. There is something about Easter that brings out the best in people.
Easter is a time of new life. Eggs are dyed and hidden for the children to find. Rabbits and baby chickens seem to mark the day along with the eggs reminding us of “new life.” Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of our Lord, remembering how He raised from death to life to leave us a promise that we too, would do the same. He raised on His own power, we shall be raised, not on our power, but His.
Hats and gloves and Easter frocks will adorn the auditorium ,if history repeats itself this year. Spring colors will actually brighten the room, and especially with the little children. Ooh’s and aah’s will be heard throughout the room along with “oh, how cute.” All of that is alright and it is good that something sparks our minds to remember such an awesome event, even though we are called every week to remember.
The resurrection is celebrated every time someone is baptized into Christ. There is a death, a burial and a resurrection which occurs in the act of baptism that resembles and rehearses that of Jesus. We die to sins, are buried and raised to walk a new life. There will be no chickens, no rabbits and no eggs and probably no new frocks, but the resurrection will be memorialized.
We are called to stand on the premise of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. It is the core doctrine of the Gospel which Jesus commissioned us to preach throughout the world. Do you know that every time the Gospel is shared that the resurrection is once again memorialized and that the power of Almighty God is lifted up? Every time we share the good news with others, whether or not they respond in favor of God, the resurrection and new life are in full view.
To the young, death and dying seems an eternity away. But, to those of us who are older, every funeral we hear of or attend is a blatant reminder that we too, are destined soon to keep our own appointment. New life means more to those whose lives have been tainted by sin, leaving trails of consequences behind us reminding us of our inability to live one hundred percent righteous. The resurrection aspect of the Gospel, the new life appeals to us more because we want better for ourselves in our inability to bring it about on our own. God promises us new life if we will but put our faith in Him. We grow to love and trust Him more, depending on Him for everything, knowing that we, ourselves, cannot make it without Him. The only other choice we have is eternal death.
The resurrection in the New Testament was and still is the core teaching of Christianity. Early Christians were able to face death daily and do it with dignity because they believed in the promises of God. They were empowered to live and understand that this life is only temporary and that there is something far better awaiting us on the other side. There is life after death. And, the only way to receive the new life awaiting us is to die first. This is true even while we are alive. We must die to sin, be buried and raised to walk a new life. Then, we live the rest of our lives dying physically awaiting our death with eager anticipation of the resurrection and the new life which will come.
So, when you come to church Sunday dressed in your “Easter duds” and see many of the other people doing the same, let it be a teachable moment. Go ahead and chuckle at the adorable children, and while you are doing it, remember that the new life God gives us now makes us like them in His eyes. We will be to God what these little children are to us. Have you considered how God looks down on us, His little children and takes pride in us? Do you realize that because we are His or if we become His, He will feel the same about us, adoring us, perhaps with a little chuckle and a grin? It will not be because of some pastel colored outfit we have on. It will be because we have chosen to wear His robe of righteousness. Our appearance to God is no longer dirty and dingy, but WHITE and bright, washed in the blood of the Lamb and clothed in His righteousness. God will be proud.
When you come to the assembly Easter Sunday, let it teach us that people want to look clean and bright. We want to appear dressed in such a manner to reflect the new life of God. The clothing can teach us, but only the blood of a resurrected Christ can truly dress us in the reflection of new life.