We are celebrating Easter 2015 right now. We celebrate all week because this is such an important event in, not only our individual lives, but in the history of the world. There is no doubt in my mind that something very important happened 2,000 years ago that began the process of creating this Christian faith and the Church that continues to profess its mysteries and glory.
It is hard for me to believe that such a rag-tag group of people from an insignificant place in the Roman Empire made such an impact upon society unless something very, very dramatic changed their lives. Can you just imaging Peter, John and James getting together on Saturday after the crucifixion and figuring out how to steal the body and then begin this movement? Or, this guy named Saul who was on his way to Damascus to persecute this small group of Jesus people being so dramatically changed so quickly that he became one of the new movements strongest apologists and evangelists? No, it had to be something miraculous and dramatic. They really did see the Risen Lord! They really did see Him in his changed body, the kind of body that we will all see one day. They witnessed the aftermath of the Resurrection and it completely changed their lives forever. They changed from men afraid to bold men (& women) prepared to risk everything, even death, to proclaim this wonderful message of grace, hope, and life.
That's why I believe the Easter Story. It is not some fairy tale. If it were, I just can't see how it would have grown to be such a large organization in the present time - something like 2.1 billion people profess to being Christian - 33% of the world's population!
That's why I believe that there is more to life than gaining more money, power, prestige, and things than any one else. That's why I believe that turning our lives around and placing the needs of others is more important than anything else. Because Jesus showed us how to sacrifice ourselves for others with his remarkable example. Not only that, but
16For God so loved the world that he gave* his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.k 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn* the world, but that the world might be saved through him.
The LORD God had been sending this message of love for so many hundreds of years, but determined that the only way that he could get the message across was to send his Son to show us the way. And how we have misrepresented that message of love, gift, grace, and joy over the centuries. But it doesn't have to be that way.
In today's society, where so many people pursue their own trivial, selfish pleasures, we can still make a difference. If each person who claims to be Christian will just return to the message of grace, love, forgiveness, compassion, and charity that the LORD God sent through Jesus, we can begin the dramatic change that started this movement so many centuries ago. This remains our challenge. In so doing, I believe that we can find a way to create the kind of country that our founders sought in the late 18th Century.
May God Give You Peace!