What does Easter mean to you?
I was asked this question recently. It’s a question I consider every year as the hot cross buns and chocolate bunnies begin to line supermarket shelves, because every year it feels like those things try to crowd out the heart of this holiday period. For me, they will never overshadow the celebration of Jesus’ mission on earth more than 2000 years ago, to provide a way for direct relationship with God.
Jesus was crucified on the Friday, for no reason other than the blind hatred of the crowds. Even Pilate, the governor of the day, symbolically washed his hands when he saw the crowd would not be placated unless he handed Jesus over to be crucified. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said, washing his hands, “It is your responsibility”.
Jesus endured every indignity. He was spat on, mocked, flogged, a crown of thorns was rammed onto his head and then he was hung from a crude cross, nails driven through his palms. He was left to die. And as people strolled by they hurled insults at him, saying, “He saved others…but he can’t save himself!” It was a gloomy day. At the precise moment of Jesus’ death, “the earth shook and the rocks split”, and one of his tormenters exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
On the Sunday, Jesus rose again.
This is the redemption pattern of Easter, the rhythm of salvation that Jesus established on earth, to allow us a full and meaningful relationship with the Father. This is what Easter means to me.
It may seem like a detached event with little consequence on the here and now, but that salvation rhythm is something we can sway to with our every fibre and subsequently reap glorious rewards.
It’s about the death of our selfish nature and the resurrection of compassion.
Death to despair and the resurrection of hope.
Death of things like poor body image and the unhealthy comparisons that us women tend to make with the resulting low self esteem – and the resurrection of a self image grounded in God.
Death of greed, resurrection of generosity.
Death of cynicism and pessimism, resurrection of thankfulness.
Death of control, resurrection of faith.
Easter’s extra-long weekend does more than provide a chance to get away with the family and gorge on chocolate. Easter gives us a pattern for every day that draws us nearer to God, who sent his son to die because he longs for a relationship with us.
Allow the rhythm of salvation to beat in your life.
“It’s no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Galatians 2:20.
As printed in The Examiner Newspaper for Keeping the Faith column on Monday April 1, 2013.