Alleluia! He is risen!
According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, Easter is “an annual Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, held on the first Sunday after the date of the first full moon that occurs on or after March 21.”
The Catechism of our Book of Common Prayer asks the question, “What is the significance of Jesus’ resurrection?” The answer given is “By his resurrection, Jesus overcame death and opened for us the way of eternal life.”
On the day itself, we pray, “O God, who for our redemption gave your only begotten son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”
All of this is well and good, theologically and liturgically correct. But, of course, the above does not come even close to expressing the ineffable joy offered to us by God in this holy season. From the kindling of the paschal fire in the predawn hours to the first blast of the Easter brass and initial shouts of “Alleluia!”, we are embraced by the realization, given through faith, that the door has been opened, the stone has been rolled away. No longer is death our final destiny. Yes, we are mortal. But by Christ, and in Christ, and through Christ, we too will experience death, not as the end, but as the gate that opens into larger life.
In the meantime, we live as an Easter people. Even in the midst of all that is warped and wrong in this present age, we live according to God’s promises revealed on that first Easter Day. Even as the world obsesses over all the bad news, we proclaim the Gospel: In the darkness, there is light. In the despair, there is hope. In the anger, discrimination, and hatred, there is love. Why? Christ lives. Christ lives here in our world. Christ lives within each one of us. His kingdom has already come.
Eternal life bursts out of the tomb in the resurrected life of Jesus Christ on Easter day. Every day now holds the Gospel’s resurrection promise while we await eternal life. That, my friends, is a hope and a promise well worth celebrating.
Faithfully in Christ,
Rev Rob Banse