Christ is risen; he is risen indeed!
Today, let the joy of the Lord fill you! Let these words resound in your heart. Christ has passed through sin and death in order to redeem all things, including you. Don’t let this glorious day pass you by in a whirlwind of plastic grass and jelly beans—remember what Christ has done, has suffered and has redeemed, for you.
For the last 40 days we have passed through the desert of Lent, through a time of reflection, contemplation on the reality of our sins, and finally mourning. Even if your Lenten resolutions failed as miserably as mine did, it only means there is even more cause for you to rejoice this day. For Christ came not for those who are perfect, but for the sinners and those who have struggled and failed—which truly is Good News, for we have all struggled and failed over and over again. We need Jesus and the forgiveness of the cross, and the new life he brings us to in the Resurrection.
I’ve been reflecting on this story of a saint (I can never remember which one), who once had a conversation with our Lord. She wanted to give something to God, so she offered him her life. He reminded her that He had given her that life. She desired to offer him her love; he once again pointed out that he is love, so that too came from him. In frustration, she asked him what she had that he hadn’t given her. And he told her that there is only one thing she had earned and could give by her own merit.
I remember hearing this story, and having it truly strike home to me. The only thing I can earn by my own efforts and merit is sin. I’m sure many of you have a desire to argue this, but to me it illustrates so clearly our reliance on God for all things.
Think of a child, a toddler. A young child is by nature selfish, uncaring, impatient, quick to anger, and unaware of what is necessary for their own good. Isn’t this true? Parents, I’m sure you would agree that all these things are present and must be gently and consistently trained out of every child. If left to their own devices, a child would grow with all these traits as strong as they are when two years old. This is our nature. This is what we earn by our own efforts. All things good and worthy of admiration must be taught and given to us by others.
The same is true of our spiritual lives. If left to our own devices, my friends, all we could earn is sin and death. That is all we have earned. We have struggled to be good, to stick to that Lenten fast or that New Year’s resolution you’ve forgotten all about, and we have failed. Praise God he doesn’t leave us in that!
This is the love and mercy of the Father: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in him might not die but have eternal life.”
My prayer for you this beautiful Easter is this:
May you believe in the love of God.
May you believe that sin and death have been conquered.
May you believe and follow Jesus Christ, so that you too may be given eternal life.
Be filled with the joy of this Easter Season!