I love EASTER! It’s the time of the year when we look to the sunrise and celebrate the dawn of each new day. Here in Cape Town the temperatures are starting to drop and the nights are getting longer. MAY DAY has come and gone. Our friends overseas prepare for the warmth of sunshine and their annual summer break after a long, cold winter.
On the Church Calendar we revisit the EASTER stories. Somehow I always return to the excitement of the confession in Emmaus: “Didn’t our hearts burn within us as, as He talked with us along THE WAY?”.
Those travellers on the road to Emmaus were amazed at THE WAY in which Jesus “opened up the Scriptures” to them. He who called himself THE WAY helped them find a new center of life within themselves. This center shifted from law to love. He taught them to treat people as potential friends to be served in love: “Get the roots right and the fruits will take care of themselves!”. With Jesus, law is fulfilled by love.
That distinctive “something more” characterises those who have found THE WAY. EASTER PEOPLE proclaim “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again”. In other words, Jesus did not come to impoverish or destroy life, but to enrich and fulfill. Whenever this new life was present, there was something undying. Death could not touch it. The quality of eternity is reflected by his rule. His mandate was catalytic: “one loving spirit setting another on fire”. The life on offer involves discipline. Those who follow must be ready to lose even life itself for his sake. This is the secret of EASTER.
Jesus takes an interest in all that happens in life. He meets people in the house, the field, the market-place; He goes to their weddings and their feasts; He heals their sick, listens to their confessions and brings God’s forgiveness for their sins. He brings his whole life as an offering to the faithful. EASTER spurs us on. Followers of Jesus set out to break barriers and conquer hate. They overcome evil with good, turning suspicion and hostility into friendliness. Doing ‘something more’ like turning the other cheek and going the extra mile revealed that there was something different.
He always insisted that this was not His own achievement but the working of Him in the Father. People could see the Father in the works of the Son. They called it GRACE – undeserved – yet manifesting itself in a quality of life and love. This approach convinced his followers to exercise heart and intellect and imagination and energy to the full in the business of loving as God does. This made them ready to try new ways and new methods. They soon found that “liberty (freedom)” was found “where the Spirit of the Lord is”.
In moving from the old to the new, they lived as SOJOURNERS, claiming that although they lived on earth, their CITIZENSHIP was in heaven. Jesus declared that his disciples were to be light and salt in the world. And so in every age, the living CHURCH has been marked by the care for the poor and sick, a new reverence for children and women, a passion for justice, truth and reconciliation and a commitment to give God all the GLORY.
“Life in Christ” as St. Paul says “is living and real”. That’s what makes us EASTER PEOPLE. To be alive in every part of our being; to employ our talents and powers in faithful service and to be in tune with the infinite and the eternal is to surely be given a foretaste of the blessedness of heaven. Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again. HAPPY EASTER!