Easter is the annual commemoration of the resurrection of Christ, the celebration of the victory of God’s love through Christ over sin and death and His power to bring new life out of apparent defeat.
The experience of the Risen Christ changed the early Christians from frightened followers of a crucified person to confident spokesmen for an everlasting Lord. On that first Easter Sunday a miraculous transformation took place in the lives of the cowardly disciples whose hopes and dreams had been destroyed on crucifixion Friday. They had encountered the Risen Christ and experienced the power of his resurrection. That Easter faith made the difference. The people who were afraid became brave and no amount of oppression stopped the new missionaries, who “turned the world upside down.” That same Easter faith has been the experience of people from all walks of life across the centuries. What is Easter faith and why is it relevant?
First of all, Easter faith brings us a victorious perspective that ours is a creative universe whose Master is God. Easter faith asserts that God is still in charge of His world; He can be trusted; His creation is in reliable hands. To be sure, there are evil powers in this world, but there is a divine Power stronger than the dark forces; that, even though Pilate, Herod, the mob, Golgotha and the cross have their words to say, the final word is God’s, for as the writer says, “God Omnipotent reigneth.”
Second, Easter faith brings victorious perspective into the area of death. It asserts the fact that although death can touch our bodies, it cannot destroy our spirits. Because Christ rose from the dead, death now is a defeated enemy. It asserts the fact that life has perspective beyond the grave. The grave is not a blind alley, and death is not a terminus. It asserts that Jesus has defeated mankind’s greatest enemy—death—and we shall live because Christ lives.
Third and last, Easter faith brings victorious perspective into life here and now. Easter is not a remembrance of what happened 20 centuries ago, but a celebration that in every present instant there is triumph (victory) available. And because God can be trusted both in life and death, there is hope for those who are fighting hard battles and carrying heavy burdens. There is hope for all who can roll away the stone of their interior tomb. The stone of sin and self-defeat can experience resurrection through the Risen Lord.
Hence, Easter faith not only declares to us that we should not be afraid of death, but we should not be afraid of life and its challenges. Human life is a meaningful adventure on an open road, and in our daily struggle we should not throw in the towel. We should not give up.
As I am writing these lines, I am aware of the preoccupation of the whole world with the devastating COVID-19 pandemic. Many people have lost their peace of mind in the face of this seemingly hopeless situation. Needless to say, we don’t know what the future will hold, but as Christians, we know Who holds the future. We are asked to be cautious and take every measure against the coronavirus, but we should not be paralyzed by fear and apprehension, because as Apostle Paul put it, “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit power, of love and self-discipline” (II Timothy 1:7).
Easter faith tells us that we can keep walking confidently when the going gets tough. We can keep hoping in the midst of despair. We can keep on living triumphantly in the midst of challenges, and we can keep declaring, “Christ is Risen! Christos Haryav Ee Merelots; Orhnyal Eh Hayrootunuh Kristosi!”