“Crucified, died, and buried. Descended into the realm of death. Risen from the dead on the third day.” – How often have Christians worldwide spoken, in different languages, these words that summarize what happened to Jesus of Nazareth in the hours from Good Friday to Easter Sunday?
Over two thousand years ago. Jesus rose from the dead as the Crucified One, breaking the power of death and all the forces that seek to bind us. “Jesus Christ is risen; he is truly risen!” This is what I believe; this is what Christians worldwide believe. “Jesus is alive. God wants life for us” – with these somewhat different words, the women who found the empty tomb on Easter Sunday already spoke a groundbreaking first confession of faith. A message no one could have guessed a day earlier – and which no one would have believed.
Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who had suffered agony unto death to free humanity from tribulation, misfortune, and inherited sin, has guaranteed renewed life through the resurrection from the dead – a hope. This little hope lights into the darkness.
Easter has a central meaning as a festival of light, especially for the oppressed Christians in many countries. I find it impressive how Ukrainian Christians strengthen each other during the war of aggression on their country. In many worship services, Easter hymns will sing of an experience of resurrection amid life’s darkness. Beyond the fellowship in worship, energetic assistance is needed from all sides to give the oppressed and displaced people around the world what they need in their distress – to comfort and uplift them, to provide them with the courage to face life and perspective. – So Easter, in particular, is a celebration of peace.
Easter, in particular, shows that death on the cross does not remain the end. There is a hope that reaches beyond death. God wants life. And if God is a lover of life, then that also has meaning for our lives – here and now.
In the spirit of Easter, may we all become a center of strength for many people, making ourselves upright in the footsteps of Jesus Christ and the community of all who love life, seeking new ways of peace and justice. “Jesus Christ is risen; he is truly risen!”
I wish you a blessed Easter.
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