Easter message gives people hope for victoryPublished 9:00am Sunday, May 4, 2014
Maiden Voyage by Sherry Westland
There’s something about spring that speaks hope and encouragement. We here in Minnesota have just endured a harsh winter and, I’m sure I speak for most of us when I say, we have a passion to begin planting colorful flowers, watching budding trees unfold, hosting delicious outdoor barbecues, and to start fully enjoying blue skies and sunshine. It’s a time of active potential and hope.
I write a lot about hope because it’s the one vital ingredient that makes all the difference as to one’s quality of life or even one’s desire to live.
This season is especially filled with hope. Not only was there a blood moon on April 15, which coincided with the Jewish Passover, which many believe is a sign of God’s protection over Israel, there has been movie after movie on television recounting the true story about Christ’s death and resurrection. It’s the season of Easter and with it comes a powerful hope in the life of the believer.
It’s evident as we look around that there are those who are fighting cancer and other diseases with all their might. We acknowledge accidents that have taken the lives of those we love, or we mourn with friends who have lost loved ones. There’s the all too familiar mentally ill who are in the depths of despair and reason that death is the only way out of their pain.
Countless individuals in our world, and even in our community, have given up hope for the present and the future as they become a symbol of despair and hopelessness. For them hope is in the past tense. Their days and nights are filled with the resignation that what they are experiencing is as good as it gets. That’s the lie the devil wants us to believe! Yet God provided the key to all of life’s pain and sorrow. And Easter holds the key.
I confess that this is the most joyous season of the year for me and for all who believe! It’s the most joyful and festive season of the Christian year.
“It’s a time for singing “Gloria in Excelsis” and the “Alleluia” chorus, expressions of joy and praise. We often hear hymns and organ music being reinforced with trumpets and trombones, adding to the celebratory nature of the season.
Today is the Third Sunday of Easter on the liturgical calendar. I absolutely love the Easter season for it holds the solution to life’s most devastating trials. Do you ever find yourself discouraged, or depressed or defeated, or even devastated by the circumstances in your life? If so, let’s examine the hope that is found in the Easter story of the resurrection. Christ’s death, burial and resurrection occurred over three days: Friday he suffered pain and agony. Saturday was filled with doubt, confusion and misery. But then there was Easter Sunday — that brought hope, victory and joy!
Though I lost my son Ryan, I am filled with the gift of hope that Easter brings — Christ holds the key to victory over the grave. Consider this, how do you get through your losses? How do you handle your pain, doubt and confusion? How do you get to the days of joy and victory? I hope you will find that Easter holds the key for you too. As long as we live in a sinful world, the evil one will continually try to cause us to feel discouraged, depressed and defeated, but because of Easter, we don’t have to stay stuck, we can accept Christ’s victory and joy!
In Easter, Christ answers our deepest longings, shows us there is a way prepared for us. He has come into the world to break the chains of hopelessness that the devil has wrapped tightly around the human experience. At Easter, Christ not only died for the sins of all mankind, he delivers a message of hope and a future to the human family when he demonstrated that he holds the keys to death when he rose from the dead.
The foundation of the Christian faith is the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ lived the righteous and perfect life that we, because of our fallen and corrupt nature, cannot. He suffered the penalty for our sins by taking our guilt upon himself and dying horribly on the cross. He rose bodily from the dead that first Easter morning ensuring that we who have been baptized into his death and resurrection will rise again in glorified bodies on Judgment Day.
This is the great paschal mystery that Christians have celebrated since the earliest days of the church. As the apostle Paul joyfully declared, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by one man came death, by one man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (1 Corinthians 15:20-22 and 55-57).
Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Albert Lea resident Sherry Westland is Ms. Minnesota in the Ms. Senior America Pageant. She writes about surviving the suicide of a loved one.