The Promise of New Life

 

Dear Members & Friends:

 

Easter is the defining day for Christianity.  The One who was killed on Good Friday and buried in a stone tomb, rises on Easter.  The followers of Jesus begin to have encounters with the resurrected Christ—some appear to be in bodily form, some of a spiritual/charismatic nature, some appear to be instances of individuals finding the spirit of Jesus alive in others, and for many it is simply the statement “He is not here.  He is risen.” In whatever form, it is transformative!  That which was dead is ALIVE!

As a direct result, we can be called an “Easter People.”  Why?  Simply put, our God is a “Resurrection God!”  God is one who brings life where others only see and experience death.  God is more than a Creator.  God is one who re-Creates.

Most of us when we hear this, casually nod our heads thinking “Whatever.”  And then, because we might have our own questions about “Resurrection” (even the disciples had reservations), we shift our focus toward those things about which we are more comfortable.  Favorite images and metaphors are:  the cocoon opens and the butterfly emerges, the tulip/lily bulb sprouts and the tulip/lily emerges, the green blade arises from the barren earth.

These are powerful images, and yet they are limiting.

What happens to our thinking when we start to think that Easters can happen in life and do not need to wait for that day when our body dies, and we return to God?  What happens to our thinking when we believe that God can bring new life into our lives when all is lost?

Let me elaborate.  Periodically in life we experience crisis.  Everything we know or count upon falls apart.  Some never recover from such experiences.  Most will muddle through.  A handful will come forth, transformed.  These few are filled with new life.

 

A person is trapped in a loveless marriage/relationship that brings out the worst in themselves and/or in their partner.  Then the ultimate negative happens, a final betrayal.  Life falls apart.  It is Good Friday.  Some never recover and become bitter.  Some leap blindly into the next relationship.  And yet an Easter God can often do what is impossible, restore a broken relationship so that it is better than ever OR lead a person into a new relationship that is healthier OR helping a person to embrace life as an independent.

A person’s professional career comes to an abrupt end with the message “you are no longer wanted/needed here.”  Life falls apart—rejection, fear, uncertainty about survival.  And yet an Easter God can help a person find a whole new career/life.

A person is addicted with the addiction exerting ever more influence over life.  A “Come to Jesus” moment happens.  Out of this cannot a person experience an Easter and embrace life anew with a mind free from chemical influence, and the opportunity to embrace life more thoughtfully?

 

Our God is an Easter God and wants you to have life and have it in abundance—no matter the past.  From time to time, in life as in death, we encounter Good Friday.  With God, such times can lead to a resurrection with a whole new life emerging.

As you reflect on your own life, what are those times and places where you have experienced an Easter?  Are you at a place right now, where you may need to recognize that something must die and open yourself to the possibility of an Easter?

May you experience the promise of new life that comes from our Easter God this day and in all your days to come.

 

Pastor Bruce