Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” -- 1 Peter 1:3
Easter: the day we remember and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The days just prior to this glorious day, we were remembering the pain and suffering Jesus endured. If we allowed those moments of remembrance to touch our souls, we felt the weight of darkness and hopelessness. Knowing that it was because of our sin that he was nailed to the cross left us feeling regret and guilt. We felt helplessness…knowing we could not do or say anything to change what happened. Without the knowledge of what was to come three days after Jesus’ death, we would be left to wander in a wilderness of guilt and shame. But we know how the story goes. Jesus could not be contained in the tomb of death. He arose…conquering sin and death…and opening the door to new life for us all…if we choose it.
Hallelujah! The promise of new life is not merely words on a page pointing us in a direction to be hopeful. Think about it. Every year around Easter, the season of Spring arrives and evidence of new life in nature pushes through the earth revealing blooming flowers with glorious pure colors and scents that send our senses and spirits soaring full of appreciation and delight. The buds on trees grow and grow until they finally burst like fireworks of yellow, purple, pink and white, highlighted only by the crystal blue limitless sky, sprinkled with light fluffy white clouds. New life for us, provided by our selfless Savior, is just as beautiful and fresh as the newness of Spring. Every Easter we celebrate this wonderful gift of new life that God offers us. We welcome it into our lives and our spirits soar to the mountaintop of hopefulness and joy.
Yet, as each day passes after Easter and we incur days of challenge and fear, we may feel the joy and hope of new life fade from our awareness. Just reflect on this past year since COVID pushed its way into our lives and stole away what felt normal and comfortable. If we were fortunate enough to not get sick, many of us endured loneliness, discouragement, frustration and fear because of restrictions of what we could (should) not do and financial hardships. We could not gather with friends and family. We could not even gather for worship in traditional ways. We could not touch one another, and the list of what we were not supposed to do goes on. Add to this nightmare the social and political unrest that rocked our communities and nation and, let’s face it, it’s felt like a dark and dismal time that would never end.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” are the words jumping from the page in 1 Peter 1:3. These are words we should shout from our soul day after day no matter the circumstances surrounding our lives. Why? Because as the words following these say, we have the promise of new life…a living hope. Just as God was able to bring Jesus to life again following his suffering a horrendous and unimaginable death…God is able to give us new life and new hope following the struggles of this past year. The signs of new life are starting to develop and will generate fresh blessings. Can’t you see the buds of new and fresh ideas and opportunities ready to burst and propel us into a promising, exciting and adventurous future? Easter hope is on the doorstep of our individual lives and our journey together, appealing to our weary souls to turn away from the temptation to drift into a life of complacency following the storm, and calling us to live into the new life given to us. Let us embrace this newness of life given to us and walk with our Living Savior to share God’s Easter joy.