Earth her joy confesses, clothing for her spring;
All fresh gifts returned with her returning King.
Blooms in every meadow, leaves on every bow,
Speak His sorrow ended, hail His triumph now:
“Welcome happy morning!” age to age shall say
– Venantius Fortunatus
So wrote the 7th century poet whose verse adorned the lives of those who heard and read it in the Merovingian Court in Poitiers, France. Shortly before his death he was made Bishop of Poitiers. We know him, if we do at all, as St. Venantius, but I digress already.
Happy Easter! It is written into the seasonal cycle of Creation itself, life, death and rebirth, so we may readily understand that One who walked among us as a man, faced a tortuous death, and the humiliation of sinful people, was restored to endless life by His own power (John 10:18).
It is, quite frankly, impossible to overstate the importance of Easter when you consider that the stakes are literally life and death. Who doesn’t want to live and live abundantly? That many in this world don’t but desperately desire to do so is testament to Easter’s unrivalled importance.
Are you beset by illness of a physical, mental or emotional manifestation? Jesus lives and invites all the oppressed to rise with Him (Matt. 11:28-30). Does the thought of dying aggravate you, keeping you awake at night? Christ defeated death once for all when He rose from the tomb. To the aged Apostle John on the isle of Patmos, the Glorified Christ revealed Himself as the “the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades” (Rev.1:18).
For a world inundated with seemingly endless international strife, poverty, terror, famine, and intrigue, the deathless and joyous Jesus says: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).
There are endless possibilities in life because of this endless day. The sun always shines. But take a closer look; there is no sun, for the light emanates from Christ, Himself: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Of troubles, I have had more than a few in my life, and my present journey is not altogether uncomplicated, but armed with a sure faith in a Savior who has won the victory over death, I am confident of this one thing: “I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (2 Tim. 1:12).
What it all comes down to is this: No matter how I feel about myself, my station in life (which happens to be excellent, by the way), or about the future, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the definitive event that has transformed my life, regardless of outcomes – be they good or bad (as I see them). And given that I am not exactly a young man anymore, I tend to think about my mortality more than I used to when I was young.
Easter, though, is not a band aid for our emergent fears; it is a declaration of triumph, and that voice you hear is the voice of God Himself! If life were a game and death our arch rival, we could happily declare the final score: Jesus 1, Death 0. Christ came to die, but He also came to establish His Church before submitting Himself to a brutal death. He then rose after 3 days. There’s an Ascension after that, but that’s for another post.
It’s a bright, beautiful day with plenty of sunshine. Yes, I’m describing the weather outside as I type, but the weather inside my heart is just as replete with sunshine. It is not artificially induced; nor is it some myopic and sentimental viewpoint thoughtlessly derived. It is my firm faith in the One who left the tomb behind. He illuminates my path ahead. All I do is place one foot in front of the other and walk, in step with Jesus.
featured image courtesy of Pixabay