Easter and Spring make a wonderful combination. Maybe it is the way the earth springs forth new life in much the same way Easter represents an opportunity for great renewal.
The flowers are once again beginning to bloom, the trees are bursting with leaves and the barren signs of winter are giving way to another cycle of life. Indeed, all things are becoming new.
It is amazing to me how good something new can make you feel. It really doesn't matter what it is. Whether it is an expensive gift or an inexpensive purchase, whether it is big or little, something durable and long-lasting or something that will be consumed before the transaction clears the bank, there is something energizing about the idea of newness.
Every time I get my 2001 automobile cleaned up, I opt for the "new car smell" air freshener because it is such a compelling aroma. (It also has the added benefit of curbing my desire to go car shopping.) Marketing gurus know the value of newness, as evidenced by the tag line "New and Improved!"
The idea that newness and improvements go hand in hand has long been a seller of products that we don't even need, simply because everyone wants to experience something new and better.
Today is the day we celebrate Easter - the resurrection of the Lord. Churches and faith communities all over the world will be full of new dresses, new suits, new hats, and young children hopped up on Peeps and chocolate bunnies. There will be smiles and laughter in stark contrast to the somber mood of Good Friday. We will see faces we haven't seen in a while or ever.
There are a lot of reasons we get excited about this day, but for the Christian church there is no day that is more significant and holy. It marks an event that changed the course of humanity. It marks the victory of Christ over sin and death. It marks triumph over the grave. And it offers something very real that we all seek in our lives.
Easter is about becoming new. So much more than just an historical event that took place two millennia ago, the resurrection represents the very contemporary action of God in the life of those who place their hope and trust in Christ.
There is a power in the resurrection that makes a difference in our lives. When Jesus overcame the death of the crucifixion, his life became life in us. Because he lives, we too can live. The Kingdom of Heaven, often relegated to conversations surrounding eternity, is actually available here and now. It is at the same time both future and present. Jesus' death and resurrection gives us hope for renewal today. In a sense, all things are new when we become a child of the risen Savior.
As a new faith community, Covenant United Methodist Church recognizes the value of newness. Our birth a couple of years ago provided a new work of God in an already active community where religion is prevalent. Perhaps the biggest difference in being part of a new, upstart faith community is the awareness that we have an opportunity to start fresh and offer a different way of expressing the same ancient faith that has been the staple of civilized society for centuries.
At Covenant, we seek nothing more than to embrace the life of Christ as our model for living - a new way of doing faith that makes a difference in our own lives and the lives of those to whom we reach out. Because of that newness, we have seen countless people experience the new life that He promised and made possible through his resurrection.
Jesus was a champion of the marginalized, the broken, and those in need of a second chance - those seeking a new thing in their life. This Easter, it is my prayer and hope - and my invitation - that you will find a place to worship today where you too can experience all that Jesus has to offer. He promises to make all things new, including your life and mine.
Experience the resurrection again or for the first time, and watch as your life is changed forever for the better. Indeed, through Christ all things can be new today.
(Randy Monk is pastor of Covenant United Methodist Church, which will soon begin meeting in the Eagle Pointe shopping center on Washington Road in Evans.)
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