Living in the hope and joy of Easter

For many Easter is easy to miss. Not the Easter we see displayed in stores, but the real Easter.  Not the Easter as a holiday, but the real-life-giving Easter that brings hope and joy. Christ’s Easter.

At first, holy week seems far removed from our lives.  Donkeys, palm branches, and disciples. Roman officials and Jewish leaders.  Thirty pieces of silver. Fickle crowds, easily manipulated from “Hosanna” to “Crucify him.”  The sleepiness of the disciples in the garden. The soldiers and Pilate. The walk to Golgotha, the agony of the cross, and the sun shrouded at mid-day.

But when we think of those who denied Jesus and those who could never forget, aren’t we part of this story as well?

Christ suffered, died, and rose again.  Christ’s Easter was earth-shaking, stone-rolling, life-giving, a world-changing resurrection. To those who denied or abandoned him like Peter, there was a second chance.  Healing and forgiveness.  Reconciliation with Christ and a mission to go “love and feed my sheep.”

Christ lived again and continues to live in those who believe and trust in him.

But what does that mean?  It means that we carry Christ with us – his struggles, his sorrow, his death… and his new life.  As followers of Christ, it means we answer the call to love and serve those we meet each day.

Discipleship can be dangerous. It is costly.  We cannot deny his sufferings and only celebrate his resurrection. Jesus calls us to follow.  Jesus calls us to see the world through his eyes. And he promises to live in and through us as we “remain in him.”

   “All I want is to know Christ and the power that raised him from death.

    I want to share in his sufferings and be like him even in his death.

   Then there is hope that I myself will somehow be raised from death.”  Philippians 3:10-11

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