For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
— Galatians 5:1 (NRSV)
Easter is behind us once again; my 33rdEaster Sunday as a professional worship leader. We had a wonderful celebration of music, meaning and Spirit; gathering together our largest congregation of the year. I am grateful to all those who, by their presence and efforts, made the day possible. I am grateful to God, for the compassionate self-giving that brought us the Easter story in the first place. But the true power of it all only barely begins on the day of resurrection. We just barely scratch the surface if we imagine it only happened to Jesus, a long, long time ago.
Paul’s admonition to the Galatians sums it up nicely. “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Freedom is the beating heart of the resurrection. It is the surprising, disturbing, hardly comprehensible news that death is not the end it appears to be. And because it is not, we need not allow the shadow of death to hang over our lives.
What would it mean for us to take that freedom to heart? How would our lives be different if we deeply embraced the truth of the resurrection? Would we finally begin living abundantly? Would we celebrate the light that shines even in the darkness of the times in which we live? … even in our illnesses, even in our fears, anxieties, depressions and heartbreaks? Would we consider, along with Paul “that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us”? My friends, if our faith has no resurrection at its core, then “we of all people are most to be pitied” as Paul also said.
Easter Sunday is behind us, once again. But the whole value of our faith depends on the spirit of
Easter living within us, in all we think do and say. As we move through the rest of the year, I invite you to embrace the truth, the power, and the freedom of the resurrection.
O that my words were written down!
O that they were inscribed in a book!
O that with an iron pen and with lead
they were engraved on a rock forever!
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that at the last he will stand upon the earth.
Yours in grace,