A Moment for Mission
"So, if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God." — Colossians 3:1, NRSV
Easter morning, Mary went to the tomb, first confused, then weeping, and finally rejoicing as she discovered that Jesus was not missing, but rather he was alive. He was alive after dying a long and humiliating death meant for the worst kind of criminals to make an example and keep order in the empire. Yet, Jesus forgave those who put him to death. Jesus spoke of love and forgiveness throughout his ministry. Jesus did not get tripped up by the persecution or the death sentence. Jesus was not stuck in the mire of the circumstances the led to his death; he had a larger vision. Jesus has a larger vision of what his death and resurrection would mean. Love is stronger than death.
When we celebrate Easter, we are celebrating this victory — a victory won by the power of the love of God prevailing over the bondage of sin. We are celebrating the power of abundant life over a life that is scarred with choices that lead to death. We are celebrating the power of peace in the presence of a raging sea. We are celebrating the power of forgiveness in the midst of a multitude of wrongs. We are celebrating the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in us that allows us to live by this power and see the things that are above. We celebrate as Easter people.
God of Love, you are generous and kind. The power of your love and forgiveness conquers even death. Renew within us a spirit of love, forgiveness and generosity as we consider the ultimate sacrifice made for us today. Amen.
From Discipleship Ministries: Easter Sunday/Resurrection of the Lord - Most Gracious God, you proclaimed your powerful love by raising Jesus from death to eternal life. We are grateful that you forgive our sins and bring peace to all who trust in you. Help us to offer your forgiveness and reconciliation in relationships with people in our lives. May we respond to your tremendous love with glad and generous hearts. We dedicate these gifts and offerings in the name of Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. Amen. (Acts 10:34-43)
In the early church, new converts to the faith did not fully participate in worship or partake in the celebration of Holy Communion until they went through a long period of classes, or catechism, which lasted up to three years. After completing those classes, they were examined and then baptized on Easter Sunday. We tend to think of Easter as the culmination. It comes as a joyful relief after a somber Lenten journey. However, it does not end there. Easter, sometimes called Eastertide, lasts 50 days and was originally intended to nurture those new believers in the faith.
During Eastertide, we are reminded that Christ is Risen and to live out our lives as Easter people. What does this mean? This is more than recalling the beautiful worship service, this is about our identity as people who live in the power of an overcoming love, people whose depth to forgive is grounded in the knowledge of Christ's love and forgiveness, and people who give as generously as they have received.