Thoughts from the Pastor

Living Savior

     A part of me has always struggled to interpret the importance of Easter. Christianity itself is rooted in the belief that the death and resurrection of Jesus changed everything. Christians have elevated the resurrection event to such high regard that it has become the very source of salvation, forgiveness of sin, the sacrifice to end all sacrifice. I too profess that the events of Holy Week leading up to Easter are foundational to our faith and yet I still struggle.

     I struggle because when I read the gospels, I see a savior who preaches repentance, forgiveness, a reversal of the norms not because of an impending death and resurrection but because this is what God is bringing about already. At the beginning of his ministry Jesus preaches “repent (turn around or towards God) for the kingdom is near.” Later in his ministry Jesus certainly warns and tries to prepare his disciples for his impending death and resurrection but never treats these coming events as the source of God’s grace and forgiveness. God is the source of grace, forgiveness of sins, a new kingdom, not some event. 

     For me the importance of Easter has less to do with an empty tomb and more to do with a living savior. I find it fascinating that nowhere in any of Paul’s letters does Paul try to “prove” the Jesus was resurrected and in their midst by pointing to the empty tomb. Instead Paul and other disciples told stories about how they encountered Jesus following the resurrection and how Christ was still moving in their midst even after he ascended to heaven.

     My fear is that in treating Easter as the source of salvation and grace we risk forgetting that the true source is a living God and Savior. We have not just been saved by God but are being saved and will be saved in the future to come. Easter is an important reminder that our God is a God of mercy and grace not just on that first Easter morning but in all moments. We are to celebrate that our living God can continue to make all things new. As we celebrate Holy Week and remember the cross and empty tomb may we also remember that the most important proclamation of Easter was made by the Angels when they said, “he’s not here, he is risen.”  Rejoice, for the world’s source of salvation and grace is moving in our midst.

                       ~ Pastor Nathan