“To Life!”

“To Life!”

That’s a common toast at a celebration. It’s also the message of Easter. Faith in God is about life, and Jesus reveals this life in what he said and did—especially in the resurrection. The life God gives is not only full of blessings day by day, but is powerful beyond death. And, the life offered through Jesus is all about forgiveness and new beginnings, in spite of our human weakness and failures and sin.

When Easter Sunday is over, the Easter season of the church year continues for seven Sunday–“a week of weeks”. More than that, every Sunday worship service is a “mini-Easter”. We trust the living presence of Jesus our Savior as we gather together hear God’s Word and celebrate Holy Communion. Gathering in his name, hearing his word, and participating in his meal are three occasions when Jesus promised to be with his followers. Then, we trust his presence with us as we go forth to do God’s work. Jesus says that when we do for others in need, it’s as if we do for him.

In our world there’s plenty of suffering. Death is still very real and nobody can escape it. There are human and natural disasters. It’s understandable why some people are cynical, negative, or feel hopeless in situations they face.

Easter does not deny such realities. It confronts them. As we follow Jesus we are encouraged (literally: filled with courage) to work for ways of life and against all that tears life down.

Examples include providing safe water, supporting a food pantry, helping someone who is going through a disaster, and discussing how we might more effectively enjoy the blessings we receive and share them with others. Our individual efforts, concerns, and interests are combined with those of others in our congregations and throughout the world. And they are effective in promoting life!

The cliché is that it’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness. But it’s true! That’s the reason for all the candles after a terror attack. It’s a symbolic statement for life, for a future, and against evil.

Followers of Jesus remember that he came as the light of the world, light that the darkness cannot defeat. Jesus came to bring life as children of God, abundant life that we can enjoy now and with confident hope for the future.

Jesus is alive. Jesus is with us—as we worship and as we live day by day. So we can continue to live boldly, without fear. Rather than becoming overwhelmed with all the needs in our own life, in our community, and in the world, we can find meaning and satisfaction in joining with others to deal with those needs.

Meanwhile, each week, congregations offer opportunities to re-energize for mission as we worship and in Christian education. We are glad to keep affirming that Jesus is risen! He is with us, offering forgiveness and new life!

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