EASTER 2020: HOPE STILL LIVES

My calendar says today is Easter Sunday. However this year my activities do not indicate a typical holy day. Today is the first Easter I can remember not attending a special program with fellow believers. The reason is understandable due to circumstances beyond my control, and I consider a global pandemic way beyond my control.

I well recall past Easters throughout my life. The meeting place was usually a building where the church (the believers) met as usual. I have also joined believers outdoors at sunrise to worship as the sun arose. No matter the place or hour, I was blessed by fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ.

I have enjoyed hearing and often participated in special music presentations that honored the risen Christ. I have listened attentively to pastors’ sermons with meaningful messages. Almost always they focused on the Resurrection of Christ.

Sometimes I heard God’s message for me personally. Both His Word and Holy Spirit spoke directly to my spirit. I was part of an important aspect of Easter… celebrating the event that made it possible to know God and experience Him personally.

There was a shared understanding that Easter Sunday was more exciting than the other Sundays in the year. Perhaps a special meal was planned and prepared with relatives around the table, and children always anticipated fun festivities. Even chocolate was included (though not as part of the day’s spiritual importance)!

Today any celebrating I do will be at home. I will not be attending a church program or going anywhere for that matter. No one is invited to come here. Only those self-isolated in this home will share with me any celebration. Easter 2020 will definitely be a different Easter, because today’s world  is different since coronavirus entered.

In a sense today’s Easter will be a stripped-down version. The extras will not be in the way to hinder true worship. I believe when Jesus is all you have, then you learn He is all you need.  The extras are not essential to worship, and their absence will not prevent the focus on the awesome risen Savior. He should be the focus of every Easter Sunday just as the first Easter events centered on Him.

His great love for humanity to pay our sin debt, His willing sacrifice to give His life on the cross, the power of God over death to resurrect Him, the Way provided to not only know God but to live with Him for Eternity…. All these amazing things were accomplished at the first Easter!

What are my plans for Easter 2020? I hope to remember that this day’s purpose is to commemorate the historical event of Christ’s resurrection. I want to be mindful that the Christ Who was risen is still alive and present despite dark times around the world. He can be experienced away from a church environment and without special music or a sermon and certainly without chocolate in any form!

The Reason for Easter hasn’t changed in more than two thousand years… the One Who arose on the first Easter still lives… He Who was worthy of worship then still is now. It is still Easter where I am, because He is here. Not having the extras usually associated with Easter does not mean that I cannot experience Easter. Maybe this year I will see Jesus Christ more clearly and focus more on Him not the extras.

It is only without the risen Christ that there is no Easter. I may experience Easter this year after all, because I have everything I need to celebrate. Actually only One thing is necessary, and He lives to be with me today. As a song proclaims, “Alleluia! Christ the Lord is arisen today. Alleluia! Man can live because of Easter Day!

Hope still lives, because Jesus Christ lives! Because He lives I have cause to celebrate. Another song comes to mind that says, “You ask me how I know He Lives? He lives within my heart!”

You, too, may celebrate, if you have faith that He is risen! May you have faith that He lives! May you trust that He is with you! May you experience Easter blessings in 2020, because you believe hope still lives! Then you, too, can say, “Alleluia!”

 

“Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53: 4-5)

“For God so loved the world that He gave His One and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
(John 3: 16)

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live even though He dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe in this?'” (John 11: 25-26)

“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over Him. The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6: 8-11)

“Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8:34)

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
(Romans 10: 9)

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
(1 Corinthians 1: 18)

“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied Himself taking the form of a bond-servant and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”  (Philippians 2: 5-11)

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
(1 Peter 1: 3)

For more about the first Easter according to the Holy Bible, read from the following New Testament books: Gospel of MATTHEW (chapters 27 & 28); Gospel of MARK (chapters 15 & 16); Gospel of LUKE (chapters 23 & 24); and Gospel of JOHN (chapters 19 & 20).

For past planethopeful blog posts related to Easter please read “RESURRECTION SONG: DAWNING OF HOPE” (April 21, 2019) and “JESUS’S WORDS ON THE CROSS: LAST WORDS GIVE HOPE” (April 16, 2019).

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