Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: 1st Sunday After New Sunday
Volume 6 No. 343 April 8, 2016
 
III. Featured Articles: Easter

Easter Joy

by Alan Monroe

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:20-23

We don't celebrate Easter the way we celebrate Christmas. That is really kind of strange when you think about it, because without Easter, there would be no reason to celebrate Christmas. If there had been no resurrection, then Christ would have been born, lived and died in vain. There would be no New Testament, no church, no Christianity, and no hope.

The resurrection, though, gives us the assurance of salvation. We have been forgiven. On writer pointed out that the one of the first appearances of the risen Christ was to none other than Peter. Christ appeared to Peter so he could forgive him of denying him three times the night before he was killed. The resurrection means that the forgiveness of sin is a reality. Christ has atoned for our sins by his death on the cross. He paid our sin debt and opened the way to the Father. We can be forgiven, just as easily as Peter was forgiven.

We can be grateful that forgiveness is not something we just experience once.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
- 1 John 1:9

To be forgiven once would be fine if we just sinned one time in our entire life. Unfortunately, we sin much more than that. That is why we need God's continued forgiveness.

Because we are forgiven so graciously, we can learn to forgive others readily and happily. Christ taught us in the Lord's Prayer and in the Sermon on the Mount that we will be forgiven as we forgive. Forgiveness has been described as a swinging door. If it gets stuck in one relationship, it will be stuck in other relationships.

Do you need to forgive someone this Easter morning? Maybe there is someone at work or at school you need to forgive. Maybe someone in your family or one of your friends that needs forgiveness. Let Easter swing wide the gate of forgiveness not just spiritual forgiveness, but human forgiveness too.

The resurrection gives us bright hope. No one is beyond the hope that comes from the resurrection. Remember the two men on the way to Emmaus the first Easter evening? They said they hoped that Christ was the one to redeem Israel. They had great hopes for Christ, but they had been, up to that moment at least, disappointed. They didn't realize all that had actually happened. They knew what had happened on the Friday, they knew the present, but they felt like they had no future. They thought that the death of Christ was something that could only be the end.

Then Easter came to them and they saw something they never expected to see. They saw what God was able to do with our despair.

But even for us today, some 2,000 years later, death is a contradiction. Death is the great mystery that we all face. It is universal and inevitable.

Death is far too often a little absurd. It is absurd when a child dies before they ever really learn to live. It is absurd when a patient, with no apparent hope of recovery, lingers and lingers but is not really alive. Death is a dark mystery, and the brightest light we have to shine on it is Easter light.

While excavating some Roman ruins, archaeologists kept coming across the same inscription, NFFNSNC. After many hours studying this inscription, they finally came to agreement as to the meaning of it. It was the shortcut for the pagan philosophy of the Romans,

"I was not, I was, I am not, I do not care."

Is that the meaning of life or does Easter say it means something more than that? Easter gives us hope of life beyond the grave, of glory, or our own resurrection. Jesus is the firstfruit of the resurrection. Our resurrection will be the additional fruit. One day the trumpet of God will sound and the dead in Christ will be raised, clothed in immortality. They will receive new glorified bodies, like that of Jesus. Our new bodies will be suited for the spiritual realm.

Resurrection means forgiveness; hope and victory over sin, evil and death. Victory - that's really what Easter is all about. The disciple's despair turned to glad discovery and joy. Good Friday turned into bright Easter morning with life and joy and a crown, not a cross; with laughter and victory, not pain.

One of the great themes of Christian theology is Christus Victor, Christ is the Victor! You see, God does not save us from suffering and death, he saves us through suffering and death his own. He gives us strength, courage and grace.

Easter means that we have a future a bright future in Christ. We need to lift up our hearts in faith, redemption draweth nigh. Christ is risen! He is not dead!

Source: SoundFaith

Hymn: Christ the Lord Is Risen Today

by Charles Wesley

[Editor's Note: The hymn, "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today," written by Charles Wesley, is a grand celebration of the resurrection. This hymn perfectly capture the spirit of the season. The first line, "Christ the Lord is risen today," announces what we are celebrating. "Raise your joys and triumphs high," suggests how to celebrate. The Hallelujahs soar.]

Christ the Lord is ris'n today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heav'ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Foll'wing our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Hail the Lord of earth and heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail the Resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

King of glory, Soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, Thy pow'r to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing, and thus to love, Alleluia!

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