From the Pastor – March

I recently stumbled upon one pastor’s list of lessons he had learned from the Easter story. Here they are:

1. Don’t look for the living among the dead.

2. Women get up early and are prepared to do what is needed.

3. Men run to catch up.

4. Getting “There” first doesn’t always matter.

5. Taking action is a big step toward getting things done.

6. Don’t keep Good News to yourself.

7. It helps to have others with you.

8. Testimonies and evidence are not enough if you don’t believe.

9. Jesus could be standing right in front of you and you wouldn’t know it.

10. Death isn’t the end of life.

That’s a pretty good list but I would add one more: There is life before death!

People react to Easter in different ways. For some, the message of Easter is almost too good to be true. In fact, for many, it is unbelievable. And so, for some, it’s just another day of the year…not really that different from the other 364. Unfortunately, even for many Christians, Easter doesn’t carry the significance it should. It is a fun day and a time to look pretty. It gives us just one more reason to gather around the table and overeat. While all of that isn’t so bad, there really is more to Easter. There are many and various explanations about Easter.

As one writer put it, “I like to keep it very simple. It is the day Jesus woke up and appeared before his followers. Perhaps, that is too simple and doesn’t quite capture the whole story. But, it gets right to the point. After a too brief trial before authorities who occupied Israel and held the people under brutal oppression, Jesus was falsely accused of capital crimes. He was sentenced to death and within hours was executed. Everything that happened to him had been predicted. He tried to prepare his disciples for his demise. They never fully comprehended what he told them. As a result, when the time came for his crucifixion, most of his followers scattered. They feared for their lives. Jesus had said he would be killed but that he would return to life. Even though they had witnessed Jesus bring others back to life, including his dear friend, Lazarus, they were not ready for his Resurrection. Thus, Easter offers a big surprise. He came back to life!”

I think that sums up Easter pretty well. But, there is much more to this story than life after death. Easter is also about what we do with our lives here and now. As I plan to preach on Easter Sunday this year, “Is There Life before Death?” Finding our own place and significance in life today is an essential part of Easter. Can you find new life? Does the resurrected Christ mean something extraordinary to you and affect how you live your life here and now?

Christ rose from the dead and so can we. That is certainly good news…unbelievably great news! But eternal life begins the moment we accept Christ into our hearts and lives. So don’t wait for death to usher you into heaven. You can experience it here and now!

Happy Easter!

Pastor George Hawthorne

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