I have been celebrating Easter for as long as I can remember. I have sung the joyful hymns, read the story with my children and watched moving and emotional art pieces depicting the scenes leading up to and including Jesus’ death.
So why do I hesitate as I write this Easter Reflection???
Is it because I am bored of the story, No.
Is it because I no longer believe in the power of the Cross, No.
Is it because I have better things to be doing with my time, certainly not.
The reason I have concluded is because I am all too human, a state which often results in me taking for granted the great, wonderful and mesmerising gifts which I have received.
Do I feel guilty about this? A little maybe, after all this is the pinnacle of my faith we are talking about. However, I realise that I fall into the same ungrateful state when it comes to the nature around me, the smell of freshly cut grass, the blue sky, the rain that waters the plants, all of this I often over look.
I am the same when I look at my children. It may come as a shock but I do not daily stare at my kids in amazement and wonder at how they grow, learn, develop and become people with their own ideas and their own stories. Most days I don’t stop and take stock of this because, well, time is getting on and I need to feed the two noisy creatures I live with.
I also fall into the same trap of familiarity when I think about the family whom raised me. I am comfortable in their presence, I do not ponder that I am loved and cherished or that they in turn bring me joy and comfort in the everyday of life.
Nevertheless, whilst I know that I am a flawed individual and day to day life calls me to do many things, it is vital that I stop, think and reflect, lest my heart grow cold and callus.
So, I’ve stopped, it’s quiet and I am reflecting…..
When I think of Jesus’ life, His death and His resurrection, what do I think? What am I grateful for?
I am grateful that because of Jesus, I know who I am. When I am tempted to question my identity or when I discover that parts of me dependend upon other things, I remember that my life is hidden with Christ in God – Colossians 3 v3.
I am grateful that I don’t live with the pressure of YOLO, as so many in the world appear to be. For those of you not hip enough to know what YOLO stands for (be rest assured that I also consider myself to be incredibly unhip and I am reminded of this every time I talk to someone who was born in the 1990’s or afterwards). YOLO stands for You Only Live Once. Well, in my case and in yours also, if you count yourself a follower of Jesus, this is simply not the case. This life is not IT, it is not the end. Why, because Jesus is the Way, He bridged the gapping chasm between this life and the next and now we are free to live as He calls us to live. We need not fear that we won’t travel the world and see all of its wonders, or that we lack the intelligence we so desire to understand all the workings of nature. We need not join the rat race, frantically trying to acquire all the wealth we can, so that we can sustain a comfortable existence now.
Why…..because we have a promise, that one day all will be made right, one day this world, this life with all its trappings, all it’s grief, all it’s pollution and mess will be put right. And on that day, new life begins, we will step into eternity. We will have forever to travel and see the wonders of creation. Not only that but we will walk along with the Father, and He will explain all things to us and we will understand that which we cannot understand now. And as for comfort, when all fear is eradicated, when every tear has been dried, when all sickness is but a memory, when hunger is no more, shall we not be comfortable? Revelation 7 v 15-17.
But what about those times when I feel alone, when I face difficulty in the here and now, what of suffering, what of pain, what of the state of the world. Well, because of Jesus, because of this great and glorious story of Easter, I need not fall into despair because I know that I am never, never, never, ever, ever, ever alone. How do we know this? We know because in Matthew 28, the last thing recorded in this account of Jesus is Him giving His disciples, this now includes us, their great commission, but He doesn’t just send them off with a job to do, yes that but not only. No, He gives them a promise, a promise which we can stand on and live by, Jesus tells us “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”.
As I conclude this reflection, I am aware that I could go on and on and on. Simply because the great news of Jesus is the gateway to so much more that I realise on a daily basis, so let us stop, reflect and be grateful for all He has done and all that He will do. Thank you Jesus.