During the sunrise service, I shared a brief story about some recent “new life” in our yard. Here’s our freshly-bloomed “mountain” of azaleas from last week!
Springtime is always such a great reminder of new life and how God can create wonderful things out of brokenness. Sure, it has been rather rainy and stormy the past few weeks, but the end result makes it all worth it.
To relate this point to scripture, the resurrection itself is the ultimate example of how God can make everything new. Not even death is off-limits for God!
Our choir did such a wonderful job with the Easter program! Several people asked me about the music we sung. Here is a Youtube list of all the songs from the composer. Music often has such a powerful way of depicting the gospel message, and I hope you were blessed by these songs yesterday.
And finally, here is a reflection on Easter from one of my favorite theologians, NT Wright. This really spoke to me as I prepared for the sermons over the past few days (you can also read more from an interview by clicking here):
If Jesus of Nazareth had stayed dead, then nobody would have given a second thought to giving His crucifixion any significance.
There were lots and lots of failed revolutionaries in Jesus’ day, often ending up on Roman crosses, and Jesus would have been just another one in that bunch.
The crucifixion means what it means because Jesus is raised from the dead after three days, and likewise, the resurrection means what it means because it is the resurrection of the crucified one.
This is part of the point of Easter that is very hard for us to think about: Easter commands us to think about a non-corruptible physicality, about a physical world that isn’t subject to decay and death anymore.
The resurrection pushes us back and says it’s all about the Kingdom of God. Go and read the story again and see throughout Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Jesus is confronting the powers—the plotting pharisees, the demons shrieking at Him in the synagogues, the puzzled disciples.
He’s confronting evil in all its forms, and He goes into the darkness in order to take its full weight upon Himself.
This is a very deep mystery, and I suspect we’ll never fully understand it. But the Gospels make it clear that He goes into the darkness as our representative and, therefore, as our substitute. Both of those are important.
We in the modern West have been conned into believing that Christianity didn’t really make any big changes in the world—nothing much seems to have happened.
Of course Christians have often gotten it wrong—and had crusades and inquisitions and burnt witches and so on—but look at the thousands and thousands of things they’ve gotten right.
And the reason they’ve gotten those things right is that the Easter events really did happen and really are being implemented.
May you always remember that Easter really did happen, and likewise live out that resurrection everyday!