So here we are again. Didn’t they tell us last year was a one-time event? But let’s not go down that rabbit hole, or at least not today.
We may be in the middle of an apparently unending global pandemic, but there are some universal truths that still remain. The biggest is that which we celebrate today: Christ is risen!
Almost two thousand years have passed since that first Easter Sunday. An obscure Jewish teacher named Jesus became the most influential person in human history because of what took place that day. He did what no-one had ever done before: he beat the power of death.
If Jesus’ story had ended with his death on Good Friday you would never have heard of him. He would have been just another wandering preacher with a small following who flashed briefly onto a local stage then faded into the depths of obscurity.
But it didn’t end on Good Friday. On that first Easter Sunday Jesus came out of the grave where they had placed his body on that Friday afternoon. He appeared to his followers, first in very small numbers, then in groups of up to 500 people.
That started a movement that has spread throughout the world. Which explains why we celebrate today. Jesus is still alive.
I’m not going to give details here, no complete history or theology lesson; you can send me an email if you want to discuss those. I will say though that we are celebrating a past event that has ramifications not just today, but for the future. Part of being an intelligent human being means at some point you have to work out what you do or not believe happened that first Easter Sunday.
It is surprising perhaps how many people have put that investigation on indefinite hold. We know it is an important topic, but there is always tomorrow. Until at some point it becomes too late.
Our culture has relegated Jesus to the sidelines in the way it tells the Easter story. There are rabbits, eggs and chocolate – but no empty tomb.
Which explains why so many of the people I have met in the past few years have never heard about the meaning of Easter (or Christmas for that matter). Immigrants from the Middle East, raised in Islam, have no idea that there is more to the story than a quaint cultural festival in which a rabbit brings eggs. Probably easy to get confused with the Tooth Fairy.
Germany has a lot of immigrants who have never been told the true meaning of Easter. Canada too. Possibly the same is true where you live.
Today Christians may or may not be gathering, depending on local rules during this pandemic. If not together physically though, they are united in spirit across the globe.
Christ is risen! The dead has come to life. The impossible is suddenly possible, and we have named the day Easter. Even during a global pandemic, this is a time to celebrate.
How are you feeling this Easter?