Tag: Easter

What Difference Does It Make?

May first. In Northern BC, May is the month when we celebrate Mothers’ Day, Spring, the start of gardening, and the start of camping. We celebrate the end of winter, melted snow, gray skies, and the in-between season mud.

April is over and done. This year Easter fell in April. In Orthodox churches, after Easter would be the start of “Ordinary Time” which is the name given to days between major festivals. I was not raised in an Orthodox church, so I may not be completely correct in explaining this, but let me try. Ordinary Time days indicate the time between Easter and Christmas Advent, and again between Christmas and Lent, the beginning of the Easter season. There are celebrations during Ordinary Time as well, but they are not the “big deal” of the Christian calendar like Easter and Christmas.

So as we move ahead into outdoor activities in the sun, let’s take a day to reflect on the change between Easter and Ordinary Time. We have just spent time reflecting on the life and ministry of Jesus, which ended in his crucifixion as the perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins. We celebrate and praise God for the resurrection of Jesus, forever defeating death so we may live for eternity in the presence of God.

But what difference did celebrating Easter make in our lives for the coming Ordinary Time? Do we spend Lent sacrificing something to draw closer to God? Do we remember the Passover meal in the Upper Room, where Jesus washes the feet of the disciples and knows he will be betrayed by Judas, is a Jewish custom to celebrate the blood protection while the Angel of Death claimed the first-born of families that sent the Israelite nation away from Egypt to start the journey to the Promised Land? Do we feel relief that the crucifixion, as gruesome as it is to think about on “Good Friday,” is not the end? Do we state “He is Risen!” with joy when we celebrate the empty tomb?

And then what? Easter season ends and we begin “Ordinary Time.” If we just leave the Easter season like that, what difference does it make in our lives?

Let’s take the Easter celebration into the next season. In May, let’s continue to look at the Scripture passages of the crucifixion and resurrection so we take the gift of our Saviour deeper into our everyday lives.

We could read the various accounts provided in the Gospels. Each book provides a different viewpoint on those days. The authors were writing to different audiences for different purposes. Their descriptions are just that – their point of view from where they were during those days. What they experienced, or what they were told happened from others who were there.

Another way we can look deeper at Easter is to read the April posts on the Inscribe Writers Online blog. If you have already read them, read them again throughout May.

Usually, I let you know that I have posted my piece there, but the posts throughout April by all the writers were so powerful, I don’t think you’d want to miss any of them. Yes, mine is in there, on April 26th, titled “The Point in the Story” so you can go straight there if you want.

The prompt for April was to write a piece of the Crucifixion/Resurrection story from the point of view of one of the witnesses who were there. Each post looks through the eyes of a different person. Of course, we create some of the emotions or scenes described, because the Bible doesn’t give us all the little details that we imagine. Creative non-fiction is the term used for this kind of writing. Creative fiction is written from the foundation of non-fiction facts.

Let’s take the celebration of salvation from Easter into the rest of the year. Meditate on how perfectly timed the arrival of Emmanuel was during the Roman time. Look at each detail Scripture provides and marvel again at how prophecy from Old Testament passages were fulfilled so exactly. Learn about the culture of that time, which makes some of those details even more fascinating.

What difference does it make? You tell me.

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Mud Season

We are in between Winter and Spring. Perhaps still a little closer to Winter, or Second Winter as some say than to Spring, as we still have snow falling. I know the flowers are under this white layer, though, just waking up and beginning to stretch so when the sun throws off the blanket of winter, they will jump out of bed and stretch tall to begin their joyous dance of summer.

Where I live in northern Canada, we have another season between Winter and Spring. I call it mud season when the snow is mostly gone but the ground has not dried completely or been overtaken by the green grass.

mud-1332495_1920Everything ends up with a layer of thick dirt that has been thrown up from the roads or tramped in on shoes. It’s not a long season. Mostly mud season only lasts a few days or a week. But the havoc it can cause in that short time!

Some of us make the best of it by putting on rubber boots and slopping through the puddles, very much like we shuffle through the leaves in Autumn… except the mud sticks to us like sin.

Speaking of sin… (how did you like that little segue?) This past Sunday was Palm Sunday, the day Christians celebrate the Triumphant Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The people cheered for who they thought would be a new earthly King.

Now we are in Holy Week. This is the week when the people realized Jesus was not to be an earthly King but also did not understand he was to be their Spiritual King, the Messiah. It is a week to consider how much God loves mankind, proven by his actions during this week.

Growing up I don’t remember being taught about some aspects of the Easter season, like the 40 days of Lent, or being required to give up something for Lent. And I don’t remember ever getting a new outfit to wear to Easter Sunday Service. We went to church every Sunday – most times early for Sunday School, stayed through the morning service, and again in the evening!

Yet I knew Easter Sunday was a special Sunday. Not because of new clothes, or attending church just that one time a year. And certainly not because of Easter egg hunts or chocolate bunnies. Easter was the day we celebrated our Risen Saviour.

God had become mortal and lived among mankind as Jesus – the same Jesus we celebrate the birth of at Christmas. Jesus lived a sinless life, even though he was tempted and lived in a dangerous, fallen world the same as we do. During Holy Week we remember what transpired in his life as he followed his mission to provide the perfect sacrifice so mankind could enjoy the presence of God, a presence most individuals had not known since sin entered our world in the Garden of Eden.

Jesus himself was the sacrifice  – his blood dripped from his body as they nailed him to a cross between two thieves on the “Good Friday” so long ago. He died.

He was buried. His followers were confused.

But on Easter Sunday we celebrate because Jesus did not stay buried. He crashed through the gates of hell and defeated death. Hundreds saw him, talked with him, and touched him after the stone to his gravesite was discovered rolled away. He returned to his glory in Heaven where he speaks to God on behalf of those who believe he was the needed sacrifice and provides eternal life with God.

God did not leave us, though. The Spirit of God came to live not just with but in followers of Christ. The trinity of God is not simply another idol or “inner child”  or a genie to ask for wishes. The Trinity is God the Father, Christ the Son and Saviour, and the Spirit our Guide. They are our living God, the I AM who loves each person, who we trust for salvation, who we worship at special times like Easter, but also every day we claim him as our Lord.

I have friends and family who do not believe any of this for a second. That is their choice and I continue to pray God will pursue them and they will turn to seek him. As for me, I do believe, and I will celebrate the spiritual reason for the Easter weekend. It is so much more than a day or two off work. It is so much more than a family gathering or colouring eggs. It is a day of decision, forgiveness, redemption, and joy because our Saviour lives.

carefree-cheerful-child-459949 (2)My post on the Inscribe Writers Online blog this month is a fictional short story about a little girl in mud season who discovers the meaning of Easter. Take a few moments to read it and leave a comment on that site or on here.

Are you living in mud? Have you been covered in the blood of Jesus to be washed whiter than snow? Is this year the Spring of a new life for you? I pray you will consider the Easter story of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection and what the truth of this season means to you.

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