By: Jennifer Venrick
He is Risen! The Easter eggs have all been found, candy has been eaten in plenty, friends and family have gathered in pastel ties and dresses. Another Lenten season, Good Friday, and Easter have come and gone.
I love Easter because of the way it brings joy and hope into the world. The season of spring is starting to emerge from the darkness of winter, and Easter shows promise of spring and new life. We are reminded of the death of our savior, Jesus Christ, celebrating that He is risen on Easter morning. We go through the process of Lent, a time of reflecting and building on our relationship with God, and are reassured of his love for us because he gave his son. In so many ways, we are renewed.
The joys of Easter have not come and gone. The sunrise on Easter morning is only just the beginning.
This year, my husband and I attended Easter service at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. It was an experience that I will never forget; thousands of people from all walks of life gathered in one of the country’s grandest cathedrals, singing hymns, taking communion together, and celebrating the eternal love that is represented by the resurrection of Jesus.
As I reflected on the service later in the day, one moment remained prominent in my heart. Not the songs of praise or the beauty of the place I was in, but the words of the sermon I heard. The Reverend Stuart Kenworthy, who gave a beautiful sermon on Easter morning, said these words: “we are the Easter in a Good Friday world.” Instantly, my purpose as a Christian in today’s world became so clear.
We are the light, the hope, in a world that can seem so dark and full of despair.
The world we live in right now seems broken in many ways. I cannot deny that as I walk through life I am reminded of the sorrow, anger, and fear that is prominent in multiple facets. It is difficult not to let those feelings overwhelm my own life. But, we cannot let fear or anger control us. God’s purpose for us is so much more than that.
“We are the Easter in a Good Friday world.” Jesus, the Messiah, was led to the cross, and sentenced to death. The world was covered in darkness and engulfed with sorrow. But, darkness and sorrow did not permanently define the world. On Easter, Christ rose to be with His father and we were blessed with a man who sacrificed himself so that we may live. He rose so that we can live not in fear, but in confidence knowing the power of love.
As followers of Christ, 2000 years after he died for us, it is now our job to be the light of Christ in the darkness. By living a life of love, we can be that hope in a world that is tinted with despair. It may not come easy, but I don’t think it’s supposed to be easy. The life of Jesus was not easy, for he too faced numerous trials. But through those trials he learned, and he passed those teachings onto his followers.
How can we take those teachings and become an Easter in a Good Friday world?
- Choose how to live your life. Live life not for reward. Instead, live a life of grace and love as a way of giving thanks for the blessings God has bestowed upon us. Let that shine onto others.
- Maintain a trust in God’s plan. Remember that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). We may not understand why God does what he does, but that is not our job. We just have to trust him.
- Do not forget that Jesus died as a symbol of hope for us. Peter praises God for this blessing: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” He gave us all the proof and support we need to go into the world with confidence in him. Easter is a reminder of that; but, as disciples of Christ, we are reminders of Easter all year long.
How will you be an Easter in a Good Friday world?