Easter Today

Here’s another excerpt for the collection of reflections I’m compiling (Bread ‘n Honey: 99 Reflections of a Dogeared Pilgrim). As I revise and edit I sometimes am taken aback by what I’ve written, perhaps years ago. “I need to hear that again,” I admit on the revision. Am so aware of how fragile faith is, how much we all need support and encouragement. In fact I’m convicted that living a healthy, growing, questioning, and authentic Christian life is impossible without relationships. Relationships where we never give up on others, and they never give up on us. That’s a context for my life that I’ve tasted from time to time, but in all honesty, has proven to be elusive and hard to sustain for multiple reasons. Which is why I need to be reminded of life beyond myself and my circumstances in this reflection. Life is not meant to be endless selfies with God.

I love Easter!

The bigger-than-nuclear blasting open of the tomb where the local bullies and the prince of darkness had stuffed the body of Jesus. “Thank god he’s dead!” they exclaimed, slapping high fives, zipping leather jackets, open throttles roaring down to the local brewery to celebrate. Triumphant, good guys never win.

The followers of Jesus were traumatized and broken, “It seemed so good for a while, we’d hoped…., what’s going to happen now?” They huddled in fear behind locked doors. In the long dark silence between the bloody cross on Friday and the rolling stone on Sunday God the Father was moving with power and passion; when everyone thought he was dead and doing nothing.

Then, like Aslan the lion in C.S. Lewis’s novels, he roared; the heavens opened, light broke through the gloom and doom. Jesus appeared with scars from the battle and a triumphant smile. “It’s finished,” he declared. “What do you mean?” mumbled his disciples, uncertain of whether to laugh or cry. Still jangling with frayed nerves, twisted minds, and thumping hearts.

“The one who masquerades as the prince of this world is defeated, we’ve taken care of that. You need never be afraid again, all I have is yours, my peace is yours…. wait a while and you will receive my power to live extraordinary lives – in my name.”

Easter is the day we celebrate God opening wide the gates of heaven and releasing his power into the world (Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven). Before Easter humanity had survived on the crumbs of sacrifice, keeping rules, and following rituals – all in the rather vague and forlorn hope of appeasing a distant deity. Church officials were his human face and self-appointed bodyguards; it was miserable. This was not God’s will but the effective strategy of satan to encourage religion and destroy every memory of the Creator as a personal and loving Father.

There’s mystery in this big picture for sure, riddled with questions we will never answer. But then who knows the inner workings of cell phones, or how computer chips store so much information, or hummingbirds flap their wings so fast.

Easter is when God the Father declared, ‘Enough’! From that historic moment every human being has been invited to live life in relationship with him. In his company we experience power and decisive victory over the dark shadows of fear and insecurity threatening our very existence. The vanquished enemy will do anything possible to distract us from the truth and significance of the day of his defeat; even resorting to chocolates and colorful bunnies. He would rather we beat our chests at the foot of the cross for eternity confessing our sin and feeling guilt. Religious prisoners in his grip will never enter life on earth with the risen and powerful Jesus – Lord of all! But…

The gates of heaven are wide open for all who will come. They are the naked Cross and the empty grave. Step through them and Jesus will welcome you home. He died physically so that we may come alive spiritually. That we may be confident in our identity as sons and daughters, our purpose, and most importantly, what it means to be loved unconditionally and outrageously. Live life from a victory won on your behalf, rather than hoping to earn a victory dependent on your performance. We judge, discourage, or dismiss one another; God never does.

It is completed, available now, what on earth are we waiting for? I love Easter – every day, we get to rise! Enter in and receive your inheritance, possess the land, defeat the leather jackets, this is no place for bunnies! Every day of our lives after Easter is now hope-filled.

Consider: Are you living from a place of mercy, acceptance, grace, and where Jesus likes you and is a friend? Or do you still struggle to believe it is for you? We cannot think our way into faith or even God’s love. Faith is taken hold of, grabbed like a child, held close with affection. Believing is seeing.

1 John 4:4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

You are my strength
Strength like no other
Strength like no other
Reaches to me

You are my hope
Hope like no other
Hope like no other
Reaches to me

In the fullness of Your grace
In the power of Your Name
You lift me up
You lift me up

Unfailing love
Stronger than mountains
Deeper than oceans
Reaches to me

Your love O Lord
Reaches to the heavens
Your faithfulness
Reaches to the skies

John Cox

Christian Author and Counsellor

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