When we joyfully shout out those words to welcome this season of new life, we are shouting in gratitude to God and to all the universe because the new life we are welcoming embraces us and all creation. When Jesus returned to life from death on the cross and burial, he was showing us the power of God and the love of God, which are both in magnitudes beyond any we could begin to comprehend. Although we don’t understand the fullness of God’s power, most of us have no problem with the concept of our all-powerful God. We have only to look around us, especially in this hemisphere during this particularly beautiful time of year, to get a tiny notion of the vastness of God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. What seems to be much harder for us to genuinely accept is the idea of God’s love.
Easter Morning and all of the Great Fifty Days from Easter Morning through the Day of Pentecost are as much about God’s love as they are about God’s power. As miraculous as it is that Christ rose fully alive out of death in the tomb—indeed more radiantly alive, it seems, than even before—the miracle that actually staggers our minds and souls is not the fact that God could do that, but rather the fact that God would do that. God loves us so much that he suffered and died so that heaven’s doors could be opened to us for all eternity.
Just two weeks ago, I participated in the funeral of a friend. It was Lent, and our liturgical focus was leading us to the overwhelming sorrow of the Cross, but for the burial service all that was suspended. Every funeral service is an Easter Service, regardless of the liturgical season. At the time of death, we encounter the difference Easter makes in our lives in a way that is perhaps clearer than at any other time. Because of Easter, the funeral service was a celebration of my friend’s life—both the life we had shared with him on earth and the new life he was living with Jesus in heaven, new life that we would someday share in. Without Easter, our mourning would have been hopeless. With Easter, our sadness, although still very real, was transformed by the certainty of New Life in Christ.
At Saint Francis, I pray that the certainty of this New Life in Christ guides every step we take as we seek to serve our Lord by bringing health and hope to the children and families we serve in Christ’s Name. Our ministry is an Easter ministry every day of the year, and for that I give thanks.
May God bless you with an awareness of God’s power and God’s Love in every aspect of your life.
“The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!”
I wish you a glorious Eastertide.