Pastoral Series

Church Matters: Easter

   When the Sabbath was over, on the third day, Sunday, women came to the tomb, but Jesus was not there, and then he appeared to people over the next few weeks.  Easter, constantly doubted, forever yearned for, the vortex of our faith.

I love this photo I snapped of the door to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. His tomb is there. But Jesus is not there. The door is open. Christ is risen!

Easter, as happily familiar as flowers in Spring or birthday parties growing up: its very familiarity tricks us into missing the utterly unexpected shock of resurrection. Dead people stayed dead – until Jesus was raised. Nothing automatic here, no silly sentiments about the memory of someone living on, or flowers blooming in Spring. Nature itself was happily subverted; the dreaded enemy, death itself, toppled.

But Easter isn’t primarily about us. God raised Jesus – and ours is to praise and extol the wonder of Jesus. How great thou art. God is incomparably wonderful, powerful, and tender. Yes, benefits come to us because of Jesus’ resurrection – elusive glories like forgiveness and hope. But on Easter, we want to stop, and simply be awestruck at the grandeur of grace that is the heart of God – and like the first witnesses to Easter, we ask the risen Lord what tasks we might fulfill in the wake of it all.

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