Living in the Hope of Easter

Living in the Hope of Easter

One year ago, our community was devastated when the unthinkable happened on a normal Monday morning. The Covenant shooting rocked Nashville. Three innocent children went to school and didn’t return home to their families. Three respected educators also tragically lost their lives while doing what they loved. Our town was brought to its knees. Words felt inadequate. Yet we saw firsthand how the worst of humanity has a way of bringing out the best of humanity. Out of death comes resurrection even if the pain never goes away.

Not all Christians live with the hope of Easter. Not all of us live life as though we believe in the risen Christ. We find many Good Friday Christians in our world who live with their heads down, their hopes shattered, their expectations lowered, and their fears in control. Many live as though they would rather not be here, as though life is always a burden and not a blessing, and although they might be alive in this world, they are simply going through the motions day after day. Nothing excites them, nothing inspires them, and everything is an inconvenience. At times it seems as though the Good Friday Christians are growing in numbers. Their cantankerous spirit feels contagious, their pessimism is disturbing, their complaining is relentless, and they can pull the rest of us down.

Easter Christians must see the world differently. We simply can’t approach life this way. Easter Christians are truly alive and thankful. Bad things happen to all of us: Illness, divorce, infertility, loss of a child, loss of a job, addiction, depression, anxiety, betrayal – the list is long but so very real. Life can really hurt. Some of these things we do control but much of it comes uninvited into our lives. What we always control is the way that we respond to the setbacks and disappointments of life. What we do control is whether or not we choose to press forward.

Paul says it best in II Corinthians: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” Easter reminds us that there is absolutely nothing in this world that cannot be overcome with faith, hope, and a firm belief that because of Christ, God suffers with us and God calls us to never give up in the midst of our greatest pain and struggle. Death doesn’t win. A friend of mine once put it this way: “There is resurrection all around us. Every day there is resurrection. Daily there are moments when life breaks through. Maybe we can’t explain it or predict it or schedule it, but if we have eyes to see and hearts to feel, it is there. Awe. Wonder. Joy. It’s in the eyes of someone you love. It’s in the human stories of love triumphing over hate. It’s in the presence of God enduring with us when we go through some of our little moments of dying.” (Colglazier Finding A Faith That Makes Sense). Somebody once asked Frederick Buechner if he had been born again. To which he had a perfect response: “I’ll tell you something, I have been born again and again and again.” May this be true for all of us. In life, we must be born again and again and again. When we go through loss and tragedy, we press forward knowing that it’s up to us to bounce back and with God’s help and the help of each other, we can.

Are you living with hope this Easter? Do you believe in the risen Christ? I hope and pray that you do!