My childhood highlighted Easter. Not as ecstatic as Christmas, but carrying its own mixture of excitement, Easter differed from Christmas, much like death opposes birth, accentuating two poles of a man’s existence. Indeed, all the candy and gifts were tainted by those Bible stories, most importantly, the one of cruel death.
Memories include the emotions and guilt. Christmas gave a few days of solace, but Easter did not. The pre-Easter season of Lent featured the “imposed fast”– abstaining from certain pleasures. It was not yet a voluntary give-up for me. It lasted 40 days. Following that came the hideous picture of suffering death — we didn’t know how much blame we were supposed to assume, but we were told our sins were the reason for Jesus’ death. The Resurrection story did little to undo that mental pain — a basket full of chocolate helped only a little.
Although, the Christmas contrast had no preparatory period nor hellish ending, and the bliss was of a purer nature, I was still evaluating everything through the eyes of a shame-laden child, seeking approval, but finding little.
Is it any wonder that many years had to pass before I realized that my release and approval was to come from, of all places, that bloody cross? A young man of 25, I took Easter as my supreme joy. The delectable treats were long gone, but the cleansing picture burned deeply in my soul. Inner cleansing of guilt and shame, unmerited pardon, unmerited favor, and a right standing of approval before God Himself are what Easter came to mean — and still means to me now.
Well, the God behind all those stories finally found a way to speak those stories into my heart of hearts, and I became new. I am appalled at the fallacy of our fallen world. Half truth, reaction to truth, misinterpretation of truth, and twisting of truth are only a few ways our world deflects the true meaning of Easter. Welcoming good news must premise our coming to God.
What is that true meaning?
- The death of Christ means that not only did He die, but He took me and I died with him.
- My sins were upon Christ’ body, so they also died.
- Death died, since a man can only die once.
- His burial is my burial, and all of my sin, guilt, and shame are forever out of the sight of God and men.
- Christ’ resurrection means that He is forever alive.
- This means that I am forever alive with Him. (there’s much more too).
Finally, this week we saw the burning Notre-Dame Cathedral in France.
We see this as a tragic act of violence, of hatred, of waste. We sympathize with those who lost a monument of Christian influence. Much was lost that can never be regained.
Nevertheless, a Monument of Christianity was not enough to redeem this poor, broken, guilt-possessed man. No relic of a saint was able to cleanse my heart. No shining cross on an altar made me a true Christian. No picture or statue gave me a confident hope of eternal life.
Only the precious blood of the God-man, applied to my conscience by the eternal Spirit, enabled a free disposition, a happy face, a joyful heart, and a real change.
We quote Mrs. Chas E. Cowman
“God …Never does anything small . When he makes an ocean he makes it so deep that no man can fathom it. When he makes a mountain He makes it so large that no one can measure or weigh it. When he makes flowers, He scatters multiplied millions of them where there is no one to admire them but himself. When he makes grace, He makes it without sides or bottom and leaves the top off . Instead of giving Salvation with the medicine dropper, He pours it forth like a River.”
Father doesn’t do things half-way!
O Happy Blessed Easter! Thank you Lord! love ya