Sunday, April 20, 2014

Death and Resurrection

Today is Easter. Let's talk about it.

Nearly a year ago, my grandfather passed away. It was not unexpected—he'd been in pain and mostly unable to move out of his chair for months. He frequently said that he was ready to die, but just didn't know how. When the time finally came, we were relieved for him and for my grandmother.

His passing was happy, and yet sad. We'd known it was coming, were relieved when it happened, and yet we still cried. We cried because my children wouldn't get to know him, wouldn't hear his stories, wouldn't enjoy his rich singing voice. We cried for the loneliness my grandmother would endure after his passing. We cried for the loss and separation we each felt in our hearts.

Harold during World War II
Most of us have had some experience with death in one way or another. Some have had far more than their share. The loss we feel when someone we love dies is real and painful. It touches us deeply.

But it is not permanent. Death is not the end.

Easter is the celebration of Jesus Christ's resurrection. Three days after his death, his friends and followers went to his tomb and found it empty. Perplexed, they wondered if his body had been moved to another location, or perhaps been taken by vandals. 

But no, his body was not taken away. He was risen, resurrected. He was alive again. He visited his friends, showed them that he was again a living soul. He ate with them, let the touch his body. This was no mere spirit—Jesus Christ had literally risen from the dead. Something new, something none of them had seen before. Imagine the wonder you might feel—the shock, disbelief, or amazement.

This resurrection was not limited to Jesus Christ. He was the first, the evidence of death's defeat. But he was not the last. Indeed, Christ promised that through his victory, all would rise again. All of us. Each one of us will live again, regardless of our beliefs or our actions. Resurrection is a gift freely given to the entire human race.

This is why we celebrate Easter. My grandfather will live again. You and I will live again. Your parents will. All of us will. We need not fear death, for it is not the end. Is there a better reason to celebrate? Death, the universal enemy of man, is only a temporary rest stop in our eternal existence. Easter is a day of Hope, of rejoicing and happiness. Christ lived again, and because he did, we all will. Should not this be the very greatest of holidays?

So today, on Easter, take a moment and consider it. What would Resurrection mean to you?