Easter Much More Than Time Off Work
Sourced from: http://www.gisborneherald.co.nz/article/?id=10822
Column Reverend Don Tamihere

Older generations might remember going to Sunday School, and learning about the story of Easter from their zealous Sunday School teacher.

Even recent generations might recall religious instruction, or Bible-in-Schools, and those volunteers who taught Easter through pictures on a felt board.

The end result of this teaching presence was that people knew the Easter story. They had a sense of the characters, the themes, and ultimately the purpose of the season of Easter.

Sunday Schools are rarer now. Bible-in-Schools is virtually non-existent in some towns. The Easter story is not so well known, or cared for in today's society. Easter represents something different - it's time off from work and school. It's marketing hype, mega-sales, and mountains of chocolate. It's hot cross buns, and Autumn sun.

Against such compelling "good news", the preachers of this world seem unable to win. No one cares about Easter anymore.

Now what a shame that would be - for the story of Easter to be lost. We'd forget that Easter is about someone called Jesus Christ. Jesus? That name rings a bell. Ah, that's right . . . We remember his birth at Christmas. We remember his death and resurrection at Easter. We remember that he taught about love and forgiveness. We remember that he healed the sick and performed amazing miracles. We remember that Jesus came to save us from our sins.

We remember a little bit more, too. We remember that Jesus was the Son of God. He lived among us in human form. He chose to be a servant. He stood alongside the hated of society, the poor, the sick, the prostitute, the Roman-employed tax collector, the foreigner, and the widow.

We remember that he loved his family and friends. He pushed them to think and to live and to love. He demanded that they be the very best they could be.

Jesus took on those who held position and authority. He challenged the Pharisees, who were the priests, elders, and educated leaders of his time. He had low tolerance for their pride and self-interest. He held them accountable for the way they treated others, and exposed their hypocrisy.

This made Jesus unpopular among the rulers of the age. They grew to hate him. So much so, that they sought to have him killed. They initiated proceedings, brought him before a court of their own making, and handed him to the authorities.

And so it was that Jesus was killed by Roman hand. Nailed to a cross, and left to die. And after three days, God raised Jesus from the dead.

This resurrection is God's declaration to the world: Jesus is worthy! God raised Jesus because his life, his ministry, his sacrifice, are worthy of eternity.

But this story is not simply about Jesus. WE are represented in this story, both you and I. We are represented by that crowd who celebrated Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem, and then only days later shouted "Crucify Him".

We are represented by those disciples who loved and served him for months and years, only to turn away and say "I never knew him".

We are represented there by those faithful women who walked to his tomb, and found it empty. The best and the worst of our humanity is there, and we can learn from it.

Through his resurrection, Christ has given us the opportunity to live the way that he did - passionate, committed, and free from guilt and fear. We have the opportunity to know life, and life eternal. That is the story of Easter, and may we never forget it.

Don Tamihere

Sourced from: http://www.gisborneherald.co.nz/article/?id=10822

"I'm just a pencil in the hands of God."
- Mother Teresa
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