The Great Gift of Easter

It is still dark as night. The sun has not yet topped the trees. A slight breeze blows, breaking the mist into long fingers that twirl among the gravestones, wispy and white. We gather around the bonfire, a lit candle in our hands, grateful for the light and each other’s company, as we wait for the dawn.

There is something so very meaningful about gathering on the edge of a cemetery to await the Easter sunrise. The contrast between darkness and light, life and death, is vivid. You can literally reach out and touch it. The memory of loved ones long gone is sharp, and the longing to see them again intense. You speak in whispers, and move slowly as you wait for the music to begin – the sound that pushes the shadows away, and makes your heart rise and fall with the melody. You yearn for the words; to hear once again the promises of Easter – the empty tomb, the angel voices, the risen Lord, alive and well! And, as the sun spills its liquid gold over you, the reality of the resurrection races through your veins, and you throw back your head, and cry, “He is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!”

We Lutherans live in the shadow of the cross. We remember the life, suffering, and death of Jesus all the time. We follow him out into the world, carrying his cross before us. But, the center of our faith is the resurrection! Because, without the resurrection, the cross would be meaningless. If God had not raised Jesus from the dead, his death would have been for nothing! But, it was not for nothing. Jesus was raised. Jesus is alive. And, because he lives, we have been given the great gift of Easter – the gift of hope. The hope that this world is not all there is. The hope we need to fully live our life today. The hope that when this temporary earthly tent in which we live wears out, we will be given a permanent room in heaven, and will see our loved ones again. And, best of all, Easter gives us the hope that we will see God face to face, and live in the joy of his presence forever!

Basil C. Hume said, “The great gift of Easter is hope – Christian hope – which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake.” This is the gift we celebrate each Easter. This is the gift that we are blessed to receive and blessed to share with those who have no hope.

Come! Receive, once again, the great gift of Easter! Be reminded that miracles do happen! That the impossible becomes possible! Let God fill your soul with the gift of hope that leads to other gifts – to joy, and laughter, and the peace that only God can give. Come celebrate Easter with a community of faith that gathers in silence, but goes home dancing! Come, just as you are. We’ve saved a seat for you…

Easter Blessings,

Pastor Barb <><

Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.
Matthew 24:5

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