It’s Easter again. And all around us nature seems to be smiling, nodding as we pass by and saying, “Wait a couple of weeks and see what I can do!”

Even the raccoons around our place are out strolling in the night, ready for warm weather. And there is the usual secular chatter about how the biblical Easter is a reflection of old nature rituals, etc. etc. Frankly, it gets tiresome and it gets in the way of seeing the power of the real Easter.

Years ago, in my seminary pastorate we used to have a sunrise worship service outdoors. It was in the church cemetery on Easter morning. You bet it was always cold and I longed for the cup of coffee and still warm donuts waiting for us in the church kitchen when we finished the service!

I remember standing in the church kitchen and looking out through the window at the cemetery. (I still think that’s a fine place for an Easter sunrise service). But that morning, I saw a young man in his mid-twenties, still out in the cemetery, standing by a small gravestone and wiping his eyes.

I went out to try to help him and heard the sad story of how this young man and his wife didn’t wait until marriage, and how he felt that was why the child had died. For several years he had carried the burden of guilt. I told him the glory, the amazing power of Easter lies not just in the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, but in the resurrection it can bring to us here and now.

We talked about how, for the Christian, the resurrection of Jesus brought a power into our lives that makes all the difference. And a major difference Easter makes is in the matter of forgiveness.

I told this young man how the resurrection angel told the women at the tomb to go tell Peter that Jesus was alive — a special message for Peter who denied Jesus three times!

Forgiveness is the theme. And then Jesus met with the Eleven — who slept in the garden and then ran away, turning their back on Jesus in his hour of need.

Indeed, the Easter message of the resurrection of Jesus was delivered first to a woman who found forgiveness and new life through Jesus. Read the Gospel accounts of the resurrection and you will discover that it is not just about Jesus being raised from the dead, but about the power that this event releases in the lives of those who believe.

“He goes ahead of you into Galilee,” said the angel. Indeed, the resurrection means forgiveness and new life and new challenges and a fresh walk with the Creator of heaven and earth.

So let Easter do its work in your life. Sure, recognize that Easter is the season when all nature sings the praises of God and dresses in its finest colors. Sure, buy that new Easter dress and look like the beautiful person you are.

But above all, let the power of the resurrection bring you forgiveness and release from the guilt you may have been carrying for years. This can be the year that Jesus’ resurrection brings you a new freedom, a closer walk with him, and a sense of purpose in your life.

Let Easter do its work!

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