Today is Easter. For Christians, we believe today is the day that Jesus rose from the dead three days after he was crucified on a cross. It’s a pretty powerful thing to believe–to take something so incredulous on faith, and just completely run with it.
People who don’t believe it give us a hard time about it. That’s okay. We believe Jesus rose for them too. But what does it all mean? Why all the brouhaha at Easter?
Even people who don’t believe know the bare bones story about Jesus: He was born of a virgin birth in a manger near some animals. He was an amazing kid, upsetting the status quo of the religious elite and calling them out on their hypocrisy, performing a bunch of miracles along the way, and gaining a substantial following long before social media existed. Then he died on the cross as atonement for our sins, and rose on the third day. Why would anyone take such a story from history and make it one of the defining moments of their life?
Some people who don’t want to acknowledge that they are less than perfect (sinless) or most likely, people admit they are flawed, but don’t really need a savior, they can figure things out for themselves. Okay, fine. More than likely, some will hit a wall when something unspeakable, unplanned, unimaginable happens – either catastrophic or miraculous. The miracles we can easily dismiss if we have little or no faith (the ocean keeps rolling in, the sun keeps shining, someone at death’s door suddenly is healed. We either don’t see it for the miracle that it is, or chalk it up to good luck. The catastrophic? Not so much. We want to know why. This is when we really wish we could just believe.
The thing about belief is, that is FAITH in someone, cannot be quantified by mere scientific reasoning alone. Just as you can’t prove you’ll live happily ever after the day you say I do, you’ll waste hours trying to convince others that Jesus is for real, God is for real, heaven is for real, the resurrection for real—all of it, it’s all for real, and it’s all good!
There’s a reason why you can’t prove it: The very anchor of our faith is hope! It is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1) Faith is simply a choosing to believe in something you can never prove. You cannot prove this to a skeptic, any more than you can prove the solidness of your relationships or the depth of the universe, etc.
So here’s why it defines us, and all the brouhaha that Christians make over Easter: Celebrating Easter means we acknowledge that Christ indeed is risen. He conquered death for us. Not just our physical death, but every death we experience. See there’s more than one way to die.
We die to our earthly life when we leave here to spend face time with Jesus. But while we are still here, we get to choose to die a little every day. We get to choose to die when we surrender a hard habit that enslaves us, surrender a bad relationship that entangles us, lay down a grudge that confounds us, or take risks that astonish even us when taken for the right reasons. We die to arrogance and awaken to wisdom. We die to tragedy and awaken to acceptance and hope. We die to poverty in our own life, and awaken to sharing with others. We die to despair and depression and awaken to joy because we choose to live.
We are a risen people. It’s not always easy. It’s a moment-by-moment, thought-by-thought, circumstance-by-circumstance choice. It is the prism thru which we filter every event of our life and reflect light and color and beauty. We are far from perfect. We know we never will master everything we wish we could. But we strive for the same goal: To cross the finish line with our soul intact, dignity, and a hope that doesn’t waver.
We are not granted this peace, this grace, this hope or even that which we most wish for by a magic fairy that simply waves her wand. We choose to believe it.
It is in Christ and faith in God; we truly do move and have our being. We experience. We hope. We grieve. We move forward. And we love. With this love, we find meaning and purpose in our lives. We love because He first loved us. And in so doing, we live. Both here and for eternity.
That is the reason we celebrate Easter. Because He first loved us, we are given grace to love more fully. Because He died for us, we have the strength to die to the things we need to. Because He lived before us and now lives with in us, we are free to live.
Rise up. Be the change you wish to see in the world!
One day you will look…back
And you’ll see…where
You were held…how
By this love…while
You could stand…there
You could move on this moment
Follow this feeling
U2 “Mysterious Ways”