Because of the resurrection...
Death is defeated. Death itself is abolished. Its sting is gone, because life does not end in a grave.
Death's primary expression, sin, is no longer our master. We can choose to remain slaves if we like, but a new, indestructible, full life-as-it-was-meant-to-be has become available to us.
Jesus' primary expressions, love and grace, matter more than death and sin. They always will.
Every opportunity to love someone and extend God's grace is an opportunity to do something that will last. Love and grace count more than we realize.
Great news! Suffering has no final word about anything. Jesus' suffering did not get the last word on his life, neither will ours. When it comes, suffering either shapes us to be more like our crucified and risen King, or–if we forget how he suffered before rising–to harden our hearts against him.
In Christ, every loved one who is no longer here is well and cared for.
We don't have to accept the fairy tale pictures of heaven. We too easily settle for thinking that we'll grow wings, sit on clouds and play on harps in a never-ending church service (does anyone really want to sign up for that?). Instead, God will make all things new–new heavens, new earth, new bodies...new creation, far better than any fairy tale we could imagine!
Jesus' friends expected that all of God's people would be raised at some point in the future. They didn't expect that point in the future to break into the present by happening to him on the third day after being crucified. Therefore, while we anticipate the future day when resurrection happens to all of us, the living Jesus enables us to practice his kind of life now, getting a foretaste of what's to come. We eagerly await the day when we and all those whom we now miss will be given new, death-defeating bodies like that of our King.
Thanks be to God! Eternal life is now in session, because of the resurrection.
Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Readings for Easter Sunday:
A Prayer for the Day:
O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.*
*From The Book of Common Prayer
[This is part of 40 Days of Prayer: Daily Emails for Lent]