For months we focus on shopping and preparing special food and goodies. We send cards and mail gifts to friends and family far away. We over spend too much just because of the specialness of the ultimate day of celebration. On the night before, adults get as anxious as the children for the morning to arrive so the festivities might begin. On Easter Sunday we rush to the living room to exchange wondrous gifts and delicious treats. No, wait, that’s Christmas.
For good or ill, Christmas surpasses Easter for our time and attention. Yet, without Easter, who would even notice the 25th of December. Our greatest personal effort should be directed toward the preparation to receive the gift of Easter.
On Easter, God liberates humanity from the ultimate fear, the fear of death. God boldly demonstrates that human authority (princes and principalities) have no power to deny God’s Presence and Love.
Do not get distracted by the painful, tortuous execution of Jesus. Sometimes we get so focused upon the death and the blood and the beatings and the crucifixion, that God’s defeat of death gets barely a glance. Yes, Jesus sacrificed himself for all, but God also wanted us to know that the giving of a life was not the end of the authority of God. Much like the first chapter of Genesis, we look at the creation of human beings as the focus of the story. However, the creation of Sabbath is the pinnacle of the story. The crucifixion is important, but Easter is the pinnacle, from this height we can see the complete love and power of God laid out for the world.
When we stand before the empty tomb, we see no reason to fear anything in all of God’s creation because we now realize that in God there is life. We can love our neighbor as well as our self. We can pray for those who despise us and hate us. We can love our enemies and seek to help them be whole in body and spirit. We can bring hope to the hopeless, release to those bound by fear, fulfillment to those who hunger and thirst. We quite literally no longer have anything to lose. Death is not the end; it is not failure; it is not the last word. The Word is the last Word.
Celebrate Easter this year by joyously worshiping God and giving thanks for the freedom discovered in the life, death and freedom from death in Jesus.