FORT LEE, Va. (March 10, 2011) -- It's amazing that every time you write a date, you're using the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the focal point. No single event has affected so many individual lives over the course of so many centuries as the resurrection of Jesus from the dead nearly two thousand years ago.
Every Easter we hear the words, "Jesus is risen." Why is the uniqueness of Christ in his resurrection so important for us today? What is the level of power in the paradox and message of Christ's resurrection, starting with Ash Wednesday, where we are reminded of the beginning of the Lenten season is a time of repentance, with a special focus on Holy Week where we celebrate the passion of Christ and finally the Resurrection on Easter Sunday?
The whole season of Lent leading to Easter weekend is a dramatic succession of events: the Last Supper first, where Jesus eats and washes his disciples' feet including the feet of the one who betrayed him; then the trials, with Jesus entering the passion, a human experience where he suffered the hour of darkness with all the betrayal, the denial, the violent and unfair trial and brutal death on the cross; finally, the resurrection three days later, an impressive triumph of life over death in all its forms.
Easter is a good story that shows us that Jesus was a real human being who went through the same human condition we all experience sometimes in life. How he reacted to the challenges of life matters not only to Christians but also to any human being.
However, where this story gets more exciting is when we realize that life is not simply a matter of human effort; it is not only about our striving to act the right way and to believe the right things. The story of Jesus' death and resurrection tells me about the power of God. The power of God is alive in us and in our world. That power touches us where we are, sometimes or very often in our darkest hours and temptations as we fight evil. Lent reminds us of our fight against evil, our struggle to remain loyal to God and loved ones, our selfishness, our unfairness ... and at the same time the willingness to experience freedom vis-à-vis these real trials.
But Easter reveals an astonishing truth the victory of life over death, the victory of truth over injustice; and therefore our determination to assume the role of conquerors by overcoming trials through our efforts and the grace of the living God. Easter comes and brings God's own power and energy. It brings the reinforcement of the belief in life and freedom.
Without the Resurrection Easter and Christianity, Jesus would have been just another great teacher who lived and returned to dust. Christianity would not have been the truth from God if Jesus had not risen from the dead. You cannot have a living faith if all you have is a dead savior.
Day in and day out, Lenten season and Easter teach us about life - to be a celebration. As we experience trials in life, we should still remain in the fighting mode with trust in God and life. There is life, and Easter is nothing less than the celebration life and the promise of eternal life. Easter is all about being raised with Jesus by the spirit of God. Celebrating life should be our daily decision in whatever we do as we love and serve our family members, our friends and our nation. But that means declaring war against the devil and creating a loving and caring environment in our lives. It is really about living, knowing that you are given a new life with power and love.