Feeling different?

Pastor-2“If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” (1 Corinthians 15:14)

It is the week after Easter; do you feel any different?  I have often heard one person ask another person if they feel different after a birthday, as if passing your birthday suddenly causes you to feel older than you did the day before.  I think the true answer is that our aging is a process and we probably don’t notice much difference from day to day, but we notice the overall effects as they accumulate over time.  We may notice things more after a particular birthday passes, but the actual differences are small from one specific day to the next.  Yet, asking the questions generally gets a slight chuckle as we commiserate about getting older.

Last week Linda and I had the pleasure of greeting our third grandchild.  He finally made his debut after a long day of struggle at 11:02 pm on March 31st, narrowly missing April Fool’s Day.  As our family sat in the waiting room sharing our joy, my oldest grandchild realized that when the new baby turns 12 she will be thirty.  We all laughed and teased her for worrying about such things at her age.  We talked about the passage of time and the ways our family has grown and changed over the years, often unexpectedly.  What struck me most was seeing three generations of our family sitting in that room together, wondering if we really understood the special gifts we had in each other and thanking God for bringing another life safely into our world.

I believe that these are “resurrection moments” in our lives; times when everything fades away that might stand in the way of our joy.  The moment itself washes away the fear that may have preceded it, the pain that may have accompanied it, and all the little frustrations that tried to get in the way.  This moment fills us with hope and pushes us to share our joy with everyone. After a moment like this we definitely feel differently and I think we act differently, at least for a while.

So, back to my original question: Does the fact that we have just celebrated Easter make us feel and act any differently?  In the grand scheme of things, the resurrection of Jesus probably ranks higher than our own birthday or even the birth of a grandson.  This is the most important event in the history of God’s people; this is the day that provides the core principle of our faith.  Without this event, our faith is a waste of our time and a waste of everyone’s time for the past two thousand years.  Yet, once the Easter eggs are eaten and our new spring clothes are back in the closet, do we feel any different?  Will we act differently than we did before?

I can appreciate how our birthday may become “just another day” and not cause us to feel significantly different the day after.  As I look at the birth day of my new grandson, however, I cannot imagine that ever becoming “just another day” for me.  I feel different because of his birth, just as I felt different after the births of our children and our other grandchildren.  Each of those events brought me a new sense of purpose, a deeper love for my family, and a feeling of gratitude for God’s blessings in my life.  Each of those events changed me.

As wonderful as those days are, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is infinitely more wonderful.  Here is God, my Creator, coming in human form to show me how to live and then to show me how to die to my selfishness so that I might live forever in God’s presence.  Easter shows me something else, too; it shows me how a father and a grandfather is supposed to love – without reservation or condition.

I hope this Easter is a “resurrection moment” for you too, and that today you feel differently, act differently, and love differently.

Thank you, Jesus,
Pastor Don