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  • Writer's pictureTanner Hogue

The Power of Easter

Easter is one of those times of the year that the church gets really excited. At some level, I get it. It’s an awesome occasion. But at the same time, taking off the Pastor hat, I don’t get it. What’s the big deal? Isn’t Jesus always risen from the dead? Why do we need one day to specifically remember that? This year I’ve spent a little more time reflecting on that question, and here’s what my mind keeps being drawn to.


1.The power of the calendar


A calendar is a really powerful tool. If you see someone’s personal calendar, you can tell what they value most by what they spend their time doing. So it has been with the Christian Church since Jesus ascended over 2,000 years ago. During the season of Lent that leads up to Easter, we see the Church put the crucifixion and resurrection on the calendar. Perhaps many of the Protestants who would even read something like this article don’t practice Lent. That’s okay. This is not an article about Lent, per se. You see, the resurrection is a big deal precisely because of the brokenness that existed and required our Lord to suffer and die. So the season of Lent is a 40-day period in which the Church globally chooses to mourn, weep, fast, deny themselves, and anticipate the need for Christ and his death, burial, and resurrection. If the Lent season is a time for fasting and lamenting, Easter is the day for feasting and celebrating. We appreciate the resurrection and its celebration on Easter most when we remember the reason Christ needed to be resurrected. It’s because he was pierced for our transgressions on Good Friday. So quite literally, the Easter season is a 40-day period of intentional reflection out of 365 days in a year. 40 days of weeping and denial that should not be a mere tradition, but something more like participation.


2.The power of participation


Participation is getting in on the action. Unfortunately, many see Easter as primarily like a party thrown to remember an event. In some ways it is, but in other ways it is much more than that. Easter isn’t a party for a family member we know we are supposed to love, and obligingly get together to pay our respects to. No, Easter isn’t just Jesus’ story, it is the Church’s story. We too have died with Christ. We are now risen with him, and by the Spirit we walk with him. Therefore, Easter is the Church’s way of remembering that we are no longer the old Adam. The old is gone. The new has come. We are new in this Christ. In Jesus. In the new Adam. And to the extent that we enter into Christ’s journey to the cross and his subsequent resurrection, we will be sent back out in the Spirit’s power the way the original disciples were. If we participate with him in a death like his, surely we will participate in a resurrection like his.


3. The power of remembrance


There is nothing quite like memory to stir up one’s sense of identity. Whenever an athlete is having a rough stretch, they simply need to remember who they are, watch old clips, and remember the habits necessary to gain their old form. You see, memory can be a tool of great pain or great glory. Memory is glorious when it serves the purpose of anchoring one to his true self more and more. That’s what happens at Easter. We remember what Christ has done. We remember that our sin put Christ there. We remember that on the cross Christ chose to die for us. We remember him being taken away as Barabbas goes free. We see ourselves in the story. We see ourselves in Peter’s denial. We see ourselves in Thomas’ rash declaration that he will never believe. Easter isn’t about remembering we are the good guys. Easter is about remembering that Jesus has saved us at the cost of his life when we had nothing to offer, and we still don’t apart from him.


4. The power of the cross


There is nothing quite like the cross of Calvary, where Jesus bled and died for me. On that tree, Jesus died for the sins of the world. That tree is not about the good guys. It’s about the good guy. Trading places with the bad. The cross is not about good people promising to do better next time. The cross isn’t about progressing forward in our morality. The cross is about transformation from death to life. There is nothing else like it. There is no one like Jesus.

This Easter, on the actual day of celebration, go and meditate on the wondrous nature of the cross and the resurrection. Think about the lengths to which God has gone to show he wants to live with you. And may I be so bold as to suggest how to approach Easter next year? Don’t limit yourself to one day to get in on the action.


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