BY REV. PHIL ANDREASEN
SPIRIT LAKE IMMANUEL LUTHERAN CHURCH
One important theme of postmodern culture is that "truth" is really the result of some parochial interpretation by a given community. We are living in a time when people are fond of saying, "You have your opinion; I have mine. Maybe your Easter celebration turns you on but don't tell me it's God's truth.
They say: "Jesus? Buddha? Mohammed?" Wasn't it Pilate who asked, "What is truth?" Truth is whatever you and your friends make it out to be.
That's the way many people look at it today. Many may say, Easter and Jesus may be "true" for you but not for everybody. To address this, we've got to ask a basic question -- how much does Easter matter for us? How much does Easter matter for you and me? Will our celebration of Easter matter for others?
Easter is all about recognizing the fact that Jesus rose from the dead after having been crucified on the cross of Calvary. Easter is all about realizing that Jesus paid the penalty of our sins through His sacrifice of a perfect life on that cross. Easter is all about knowing that He rose from the dead in order to prove the truth that He is God and He has saved us. And before numerous witnesses, there He was, alive once again, an objective truth, but this truth is received only through faith.
We have just come through the wonderful, beautiful, celebrative festival of Easter. There were those fantastic hymns of praise, the beautiful choral anthems, the bells, the trumpets, the lilies, the fragrances, the family gatherings and everything else that goes with Easter. What if that was it? What if Easter is only about smelling the lilies and taking in the special emotion of the day? Then Easter really doesn't matter all that much. On the other hand, if Easter is about some profound, eternal truth that Christ is risen from the dead, then the worship of Christ's resurrection does matter for us and for others.
When we live as though this message of Easter matters, then we will put a high priority on being a community and on our life together as the body of Christ. We will continue to come to God's house to hear His Word and receive blessings from our living Lord. We will continue to be fervent in our daily prayers and devotions. When Easter matters we will continue in our church fellowship to do acts of mercy in our community. We will make sure that the local food bank is well stocked for those in need. We will put a little extra in the collection plate to take care of the needs of our global missionaries ...
Some people will continue to say, "Oh, Jesus and Easter, that's just your opinion." But when you live your life like Easter matters, people will get curious. Your co-workers and friends, and maybe even your family will say things to you like, "Why are you always spending so much time helping others? Why are you always caring for people? What makes you the way you are?"
St. Peter says, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" (3:15). Then you can say, "You want to know why I'm different? I'll tell you the truth. It's Easter. Jesus is my living Lord, He rose from the dead. Easter matters to me and I pray Easter will matter to you."
That's living as though Easter matters. May it be so for you.