Easter can be harder to celebrate than Christmas. A healthy baby’s birth is always a joyful occasion, while a death is almost always hard to deal with. We know that the person who has died has gone to his eternal home, and will be much happier in the other world than in this life, if he or she has lived a good life. But still it is sad to be separated from someone we love.
Jesus compared the sadness of death to the pain of childbirth: “A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Therefore now you have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.” (John 16:20-21)
Jesus was willing to lay down His life. This is how He conquered “the power of darkness” (Luke 22:53), namely, the strong illusion that this life is all there is and that death is the bitter end. Then He rose again, and He told His disciples, “All power is given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18)
Easter challenges us to lift our minds and hearts to eternal life. It requires some work because of our attachment to life in this natural world. But there is joy in opening our minds to thinking beyond this life, beyond the grave, to life in heaven.
Every day we have opportunities to set heaven above earth in our thinking and goals. When a man does an honest job for a customer and refuses to cut corners, he is putting the right thing over the convenient thing. When a mother takes time to include her little girl in making supper instead of just getting it done quickly, she is laying down a little of her life for her daughter. When parents both talk and also listen carefully to an older child, firmly saying no to something that is not a good idea, yet being willing to spend the time and patience to really discuss the question and help the child to understand why, there is a small celebration of Easter taking place.
The Lord said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends, if you do whatever I command you.” (John 15:13-14)
May the Lord bless your celebration of Easter. You are always welcome, on Easter or any other Sunday, at the Kempton New Church. Our service is at 10:00 a.m.
Lawson M. Smith (LMSmith@entermail.net)