Christ is (still) Risen! Thanks be to God.
In the calendar year of the historic Christian Church, the 50 days between Easter (the Resurrection of Christ) and Pentecost (the outpouring of the Holy Spirit) are set aside as the feasting and celebratory season known as Eastertide. Just as the season of Lent is marked as a means of preparing our hearts to contemplate the SACRIFICE of Jesus, so the Easter season is a contemplation of, and intentional participation in, the VICTORY of Jesus. For the follower of Jesus, the resurrection of Christ is not merely a historical event (though is is certainly that), but the entire context of this life that we are given now to live! In a letter to the Corinthian church, Paul contemplates the vital, ongoing importance of the Resurrection to the life of faith and hope in Christ:
"And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied... But in fact Christ HAS been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead...
...The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain." (1 Cor. 15:17-21,57-58 )
So it is, in this season before us, that we together have the chance to contemplate the true depths of joy and hope that we are given, in the victory of Jesus over Death, on our behalf! May we work, and laugh and celebrate together, in the light of this glorious grace poured over us in Jesus. May the weeks ahead see that light of hope burn brightly in the lives we live, such that the Gospel of King Jesus might be made much more of, in our world today!
In Hope and Joy,