“I wish it could be
Christmas Easter everyday…”
Kids – up to the age of 99, it seems! – enjoy an Easter egg hunt. Even if it only lasts a few minutes, the competitive excitement of finding colourfully wrapped chocolate goodies that someone has thoughtfully hidden round the house or in the garden (or even in the snow drifts this year…) appeals to us all. Especially if we get more eggs than anyone else.
Easter isn’t really about chocolate eggs, we all know that too. It’s a reminder of that day in history almost 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ came back to life –not the sort of thing that happens every day. Easter is that particular time in the Christian calendar that allows us to focus unreservedly on the real historical events that are the foundation for our faith. Jesus did live, did die outside Jerusalem executed by the Romans as a criminal and did come back to life three days later. It’s not some religious doctrine, super-spiritual theological theory or made-up fairy tale – all this really happened!
And it’s good to remind ourselves of this. Faith can become a very ethereal thing, a bit woolly at times, and we can forget how it all started. We can get bogged down in our own thoughts and hopes and dreams and issues… and after a while we find ourselves living a faith that is more to do with what we think or what we are capable of than anything else.
But it isn’t. Christian faith is not a self-help programme under a thin veneer of religiosity. Far from it! Christian faith is the unashamed recognition of our own human inadequacy, and the celebration of God’s solution for us in Jesus’ death and resurrection.
There may be many a day when you think “I’m just not up to scratch”, “A bit more prayer, a bit more Bible reading, and I reckon I’ll be doing OK”, or even “I can’t do this by myself”. Of course you’re not up to scratch, of course you’re not there yet, of course you can’t do it by yourself – you’re not supposed to! That would be a poor imitation of Christian faith, a model for living that tries to make us experience the fruit of Christian life, but without Christ.
On the cross, Jesus carried all of our frailty, our accidental failings, our deliberate sin – everything that in any way is not what we should be. His death takes it all and when God looks on us now, he sees us without any of this. If you are forgiven in Christ, you need never again worry about what God thinks of you, for you are perfect in his sight. Amazing. Totally amazing.
But there is more. Jesus’ resurrection is the demonstration of God’s power over that junk. Jesus took the lot, but it had no hold on him. When Jesus came back to life, he left it all behind. Instead, he offers us the opportunity to share in the power of his resurrection, to experience that same inner well of life that brought him back from the dead.
Easter is the time when we remember that event and celebrate the power of God over sin, Satan and death. All this really happened, but please don’t treat it as only history. It is God’s power for you, today. It really can be Easter every day.
Guest post from Neil Rees