Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As I compose this congregational note, Emmanuel is preparing to celebrate the most holy of days in the life of humanity. This year, God’s people gather on Easter Sunday to embrace the joyous message of Christ’s resurrection from the grave. His physical resurrection foreshadows our own resurrection unto life-everlasting. His victory over sin, death and the evil one becomes our victory when we are born again in Holy Baptism. We now bear His name and are blessed as disciples of Christ knowing daily that our sins are forgiven and that heaven will be our eternal home. Easter is much more than a single day in history.
Easter is God’s statement of love, victory and hope for each of us. Every day, we live in the light of Easter Sunday. When the Apostles went forth to proclaim the Gospel, their message revolved around Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Through the reality of Easter, lives are being changed eternally. It is in the certainty of Christ’s resurrection that we live each day knowing that we are loved by God, forgiven by Him and assured of His eternal victory on our behalf. The Apostle Paul beautifully reminds us in Romans 8 that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is Christ Jesus, our Savior and Lord. We belong to God and He deeply cares for us and the challenges we face in life.
As we lift our voices in worship this Easter Season, we join with those who bear His name both around the world and in heaven itself. We are now the redeemed children of God; as the Apostle John affirms to us: “see how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.” (1 John 3)
Easter affirms to us that no matter what the world is throwing at us right now, God is greater than the world. The Apostle John encourages us with these words: “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4)
Our precious Savior is described in many ways in the Bible. One of the most profound for us is the image of Christ as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Our Easter Alleluias are rooted in this great blessing that through His crucifixion and resurrection we can be forgiven our sins and be blessed with new life in Him. The Bible also speaks of Christ as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. This expression of His ultimate power and authority are so needed by His hurting people today. Christ is victorious over all. John states “the Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” (1John 3) Christ is all-powerful. He healed the sick, raised the dead, exercised authority over nature; forgave the sins of many; and destroyed the power of the evil one on Easter Sunday. Let us turn to the Resurrected Christ and bring our needs, challenges and concerns to the One who rose again on our behalf. And, the message of Easter goes with us daily: Christ the Lord is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!
A blessed Easter Season,
Pastor Michael McFarland