By John Dunnett
Here I sit on a rainy April 1, April Fool’s Day, and ask myself what seems like a simple question? What does Easter mean to me?
One thing that it means is business. My mind sifts through the business of the church calendar for Easter week. There will be “20 Minutes at the Cross” Monday through Thursday at noon, a Maundy Thursday service with our Sister Church at Second Baptist on Thursday evening, a Good Friday Vespers at the church Friday evening, the Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday and then the breakfast and Celebration Service Sunday Morning. All in all, it is more manageable than the past couple of years but still busy.
My mind slides past the business and on to family. Easter has been a family time. It is that time when we had Easter egg hunts around the house. You know, the foil-wrapped eggs, the ones you would find in the nooks and crannies of the search area well into the summer. Easter has always been about family. This year both of the children will be away for the first time and Easter will still remind us of family, but it will be different.
by family my mind settles on the story. Approximately 1990 years ago Jesus of Nazareth’s three-year public ministry came to a halt as he was betrayed by Judas, framed by the religious authorities and crucified by the Pontius Pilate. Beaten and battered he endured slow strangulation and torture of the cross from morning until three in the afternoon (Matthew 27:46) and died of a ruptured heart (John 19:34). His body was removed and placed in a borrowed tomb. The authorities had it sealed and he was dead. Then came Easter morning, followers found the grave empty. He appeared before many, then weeks later ascended to Heaven. It is a story of great sacrifice and love, of sadness and celebration. But, no, it is more than just the story to me.
You see, I believe that Jesus is the living Son of God, a part of the trinity. I believe that his death opened a door to forgiveness for the brokenness and wrong in my life. It allows a way for me to approach a Holy God in prayer. In his resurrection Jesus defeated fear and death. After he ascended to heaven, His spirit (the Holy Spirit ) returned and seals and influences the lives of believers. This Spirit of Jesus has influenced human history for almost 2,000 years. Easter is the pivotal point of all of this. What does Easter mean to me? It’s hope, transformation and personal connection with the author of eternity.
Beyond the business, beyond the story and even beyond family Easter is a reminder of what has been shaping my life for the last 50 years. It is essential to who I am.
But that is me. I wish Easter meant the same for everyone but that is not for me to choose? So let me wish you a joyous Easter weekend and ask, “What does Easter mean to you?”
Rev. John Dunnett is minister of First Baptist Church in New Glasgow.