The Essence of Easter
Luke 24:1-6 ‘…At the crack of dawn on Sunday, the women came to the tomb carrying the burial spices they had prepared. They found the entrance stone rolled back from the tomb, so they walked in. But once inside, they couldn’t find the body of the Master Jesus. They were puzzled, wondering what to make of this. Then, out of nowhere it seemed, two men, light cascading over them, stood there. The women were awestruck and bowed down in worship. The men said, “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery? He is not here, but raised up. Remember how he told you when you were still back in Galilee that he had to be handed over to sinners, be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?” Then they remembered Jesus’ words…’
(From the Message translation of the Bible)
In just a few weeks, the College will break for the Easter holiday period. As is the custom every year, Good Friday through to Easter Sunday marks the celebration that many would argue to be the most significant event in the history of mankind; a bold statement, yet not without substance!
Easter is a period of time set aside to acknowledge the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Good Friday symbolises the day when Jesus was crucified and placed in a tomb (whilst the Sabbath Day was observed), while Sunday marks the day when the women went to the tomb to prepare Jesus’ body for burial, only to find that he was not there. With the makings of a ‘cold case’ or ‘unsolved mystery’, the Old Testament prophecy found in Psalm 16:10 suggests that, although the Messiah was destined to die, his body would never see decay ‘… For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay…’ Once the resurrected Jesus appeared to all the people mentioned in the Bible, the mystery was solved.
For those not so widely acquainted with the Easter story, the thing that we all have to celebrate during this Easter break are the values that manifest, that are connected to this great event. These include:
Love – Spending time with family and loved ones is something that we are all free to enjoy. The business of life and the frustrations of minor matters can rob us of the opportunity to relish the presence of those we so dearly love. The Easter break is such a time to enjoy each others company, remembering that life is not about the successes and profits, but the privilege it is to love and to be loved.
Forgiveness – Often considered to be a powerful tool in resolving conflict, forgiving others must also be considered as a powerful source for our own healing. Injustice and prejudice may cause us all to feel unsettled and bitter inside, where the decision to forgive those who have wronged us, whether they deserve the forgiveness or not, diminishes the debilitating effects of bitterness (that are merely scars of injustice), thereby healing the entanglement we feel inside. On the cross as Jesus saw the people beneath scoffing and mocking him, Jesus exclaimed, ‘Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’
Hope – a powerful force that motivates us to look to an exciting tomorrow. When we cannot see the light beyond difficult times, we run the gauntlet of despair and discouragement that zaps the fulfilling life that we should all experience. When we can see the light beyond times of difficulty, we approach life with a completely different mindset. Easter reminds us of the hope there is for all mankind.
Transformation – What lies at the heart of Easter is that Jesus was transformed in being resurrected. Everyone loves the notion of new beginnings; the opportunity to move on from the past, to reset our focus and change what needs to be changed. The Easter break serves as a valuable opportunity to reflect on the days ahead, recalibrating our priorities so that we might be transformed to be the person we want to be.
Whatever way you view the Easter celebration, may it be a most fulfilling, relaxing and enjoyable time for everyone within the Newington community, as we all recalibrate our bearings and look forward to a fulfilling Term 2.
Rev Geordie Barham