I know its still Thursday but the following will appear in today's Malverne-West Hempstead Herald. As most of the congregation doesn't get the Herald, I thought I'd post it here as well. My gratitude to the editors of the Herald for the invitation to write an Easter column.
Here's the column:
“It’s 6:00 and time for the news,” intones the smooth voice from the clock radio as I roll over and slap the snooze button. There was a time when I let the morning news filter through my brain as I moved from bed to shower, but now I skip the news and wait for the music. “It seems as if the whole city’s on edge,” a friend said to me the other day - no surprise when we start our days with the latest body count from Iraq, more lies from Washington, New York’s finest being shot and our pets being poisoned.
“Because Jesus lives, I can face tomorrow,” penned Bill and Gloria Gaither in 1970 as their child was born into a troubled, war torn world. “Because he lives, all fear is gone. Because I know he holds the future, life is worth the living just because Jesus lives.” The foundational belief of Christianity is that Jesus Christ, a teacher, preacher and prophet who lived in the first century AD, was unjustly executed by the Roman government and then, three days later, came back to life. In Jesus’ resurrection, celebrated by Christians on Easter, God shows that he can defeat all things, even death. He can bring all people, no matter what they hold inside, new life.
I have a friend who found the strength through Jesus Christ to defeat a drug addiction that had left him homeless on the streets of Manhattan. I have another friend who found the strength to recover from sexual abuse. Yet another friend relies on her faith in the resurrection to support her as she nurses her husband through a long illness. As for me, I get out of bed every morning because I know God – working through us – can fix the messes in my life and in my world. God brings me resurrection.
When parishioners and guests enter Community Presbyterian Church this Easter Sunday for our Celebration of the Resurrection, they will find a dead tree in the center of the sanctuary. As the service progresses the tree will “come to life” as those in attendance fill it with leaves celebrating their resurrection experiences. God’s gifts from the past remind us that there is hope for the future. Even death cannot defeat the abundance of life that flows from God.
Where ever you are journeying and whatever burdens you are carrying, may God bless you with resurrection this Easter.