Jesus has risen. The core belief of Christianity contains within it the power to transform our lives. It means more than simply the coming back from the dead. Lazerous rose from the dead before Jesus and yet, that miracle lacks the power to transform the way the rising of Jesus does. The difference comes out of the incarnation. God’s return to us gives us the power to love one another and God. We are saved from our own violence, power and fear and we can love one another. This is what is missing from those that simply want to turn the Gospel into a rules-based morality. Without love, what does it matter if we behave? If it is only about making other’s behave as we want them to, then is that not what those that strung up Jesus on the cross also wanted — Jesus to behave as they wanted? It is no accident that Jesus’ words to Peter in the last chapter of John was to love.
I felt this once more on Easter. See, it was my son’s seventh birthday on March 27. Our pastor knew this and after the children’s sermon, he kept my son at the front of the church and announced to the congregation that it was Tito’s birthday. My son was dressed in his brown suit with a banker’s vest and a clip-on silk tie and his tennis shoes. He looked out to the people of God and smiled. As the people of God returned the love and clapped, I found myself wrapped up in the joy of my son. We all were enveloped in his joy together, the joy of God. The partaking of of joy together is the meaning of Easter.
The joy of being alive inside of love transforms us and we taste the glory of God. My son was filled with God’s glory. Yes, his joy and love made his actions for the whole the day a parents dream. He “behaved” out of being in the thralls of love and not because of rules. He was fully alive and he cared deeply for all he met. His delight was our delight. Paul claims that love makes us fulfill the law. Easter means love triumphantly marches to the sound of brass trumpets, for he has risen.
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