For Christians, Easter is not some mere observance of spring. It is the passage from death to life, from brokenness to wholeness, from hopelessness to hope, and from despair to the blessed assurance of new life made possible by the death and resurrection of Christ. It is a journey through the holiest of weeks, into the holiest of seasons.
During Holy Week, we accompany Jesus as He journeys from the hosannas and praise of Palm Sunday to His passion and death. We see His humility and loving service as He washes the disciples’ feet and shares with them that solemn Last Supper. We grieve with Him as He is betrayed and then denied by those with whom he had been closest. We see our Jesus abused on that pain filled journey to Golgotha and then stand at the foot of the cross to witness His bloody death. And we ponder again that it was our sins that brought Him to that cross and it was for our sake that such sacrificial love was given.
It was noted that a short time before Martin Luther died, his words were: “We are beggars, this is true.” We have all seen beggars; persons from whom you would expect nothing, since that person has nothing. However, ponder that before God, we are all beggars who have nothing to give and everything to receive. That is our spiritual condition. Consider that each one of us stands before God as a beggar with an empty cup. Each with our own particular sins, sicknesses, needs, and brokenness. Each of us hungering for forgiveness, healing, fulfillment, and wholeness. Each of us equal in our need before God.
The death and resurrection of Christ means that our beggar’s cups have not only been filled but, in the words of the psalmist, our cup overflows. Resurrection Joy celebrates our passage from death to life, brokenness to wholeness, hopelessness to hope, and from despair to new life in Christ. Indeed, God is not only doing a new thing; in the Cross and Resurrection, God is doing for us the biggest new thing God can do.
As beggars before God, we have the joyful realization that God richly gives mercy and grace equally upon us, who have nothing to offer God as signs of our worthiness. And, as recipients of those abundant blessings and new life, we are now freed to serve our neighbor in the name of Christ; to proclaim the love of Christ in word and deed to all, recognizing the needs of all those with whom we are fellow beggars: the sick, vulnerable, disenfranchised, hungry, and broken.
Easter is the triumph of Jesus over sin, death, and all that is broken in our lives. Easter is also our triumph over sin, death, and everything that would separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. May the Triumph and Joy of the Resurrection be yours during this holiest of seasons!
Easter triumph, Easter joy, this alone can sin destroy! From sin’s pow’r, Lord, set us free, newborn souls in you to be. Alleluia! (Evangelical Lutheran Worship #362, vs. 7)