Do you know that more of us go to church during Easter than any other time of the year? At Christmas we go because of our families, but at Easter we go for ourselves. Why? Because we need to be touched by the message of Easter: that life comes out of death, meaning and purpose out of chaos, and light out of darkness.
Engaging the symbols of EasterEven though the story of Easter is 2000 years old, it still has power to touch us deep inside. When we engage its symbols through faith in our heart, they become alive for us.
Consider the Easter lily, a regal symbol of light. The egg, with its potential of new life, when the chick breaks free from its shell. And the bread, our spiritual nourishment.
The cross is a powerful symbol of suffering and triumph, of perfect love, of Jesus Christ who laid His life down for us. But it is also a sign of renewal and starting over again. The cross offers us a place to take our current painful situation and leave it there.
Life comes out of deathMany years ago, when our marriage was falling apart, we knelt together and prayed: “Lord, our marriage is dead; we don’t know how to make it work. If you want it to live, you will have to do it.” A few weeks later, God sent someone to tell us that He had heard our prayer and was going to make us of one heart. This summer we’ll celebrate 60 years of marriage!
As we watched golf pro Tiger Woods win the Masters for the fifth time this last Sunday, we witnessed the capacity of the human spirit to transcend tremendous loss, humiliation, and failure. Don’t we love stories of people who make a great comeback in life?
Then as I watched the horrific fire bring down Notre Dame Cathedral, I felt sadness for the people in post–Christian France. How long will it take for them to realize they are mourning the loss of a living, breathing faith in a God who wants to bring the resurrection life of Easter into their lives again?
Meaning and purpose comes out of chaosAuthor Ralph Nault reminds us that “In our faith walk with God, we experience many endings and new beginnings. But this is not always an easy transition for some folks. In reality, endings can be very long and difficult because we when we look at the future, it can look pretty bleak and hopeless.”
What we need to see is that life is a series of deaths and rebirths, if we can let go of the old when it is time. But when we refuse to, we find ourselves in depression and despair.
A vision of the crossThe cross can touch us deeply—transform our energy, create faith and hope in the face of despair, and make spiritual realities present to us. Some years ago a friend had a vision with the reality of the cross:
“I was standing out in the middle of a violent storm; the lightning flashed again, and off to my left, I could see a low hill with three crosses on top of it. Suddenly the center cross was brightly illuminated, filled with light, with a radiance as brilliant as the sun. Spears of light were going up into the sky, down into the earth, and off to both sides. It felt like the light pierced right through me too.
“I cried out, ‘My God, it is all for real!’ and the reality of Jesus Christ and the cross and Him crucified, entered into my heart and I began to weep. Growing up in church, I heard the story of Jesus and the cross, but now the reality entered my heart.
“I was somehow taken back to the terrible storm talked about in the Bible the night Jesus was crucified. It was real: I felt the rain and the wind; I saw the lighting and the cross. I will never forget it; whenever I think of it today, it is still as clear as the night it happened.”
What does Easter mean to you?The same power that brought Jesus Christ out of the grave is available to us today.
We are to cast our anxiety upon Him, because He cares for us. Cast means to actually throw something directly on to Jesus, the Chief Shepherd of our soul. (1 Peter 5:7)
Why not take God at His word this Easter: choose a worry and throw it on to Jesus and see what He does with it?
Judith Doctor, RN, MSW, is an Arcadian author, speaker, and spiritual life mentor. President of Kairos Ministries, Inc., her live broadcasts can be heard monthly on Radio Horeb in Europe. Her books on dreams and forgiveness are available on Amazon and other online booksellers. firstname.lastname@example.org