A Word from the Pastor:
Halloween has its trick-or-treating. Valentine’s Day has its boxes of choco-lates. But Easter chocolate rabbits rule the day. In the week before Easter last year, Americans bought $823 million in crème-filled eggs, chocolate rab-bits and colored marshmallow Peeps (Nielsen data). Furthermore, 67% of our nation’s adults consider Easter “a religious holiday” versus 42% who say it cel-ebrates Jesus’ resurrection.
We offer another narrative. The faithful who observe the days prior to Easter will reflect on the final days of a journey that seems to end with a brutal exe-cution. Death by crucifixion remains among the most gruesome and humili-ating state sanctioned killings to this day. Astonishingly, in one account of the proceedings, as the soldiers pounded nails into his battered, tortured body, the condemned man prayed that God would forgive them, for they hardly knew what they were doing.
This young man tortured to death by the empire, whose friends later said that they saw him alive, taught that the most faithful way for living included loving even one’s enemies. Now, this One raised from the dead, and his Spirit, the Spirit of truth, is loose in the world. Certainly, it shows that life is stronger than death. But could it also be that love ---- unconditional, sacrificial love ---- is stronger than death?
That’s a message worth pondering, especially in our divisive nation and world. If our reliance is on being right, on bombs, bullets and hate, then we may as well settle into a chocolate bunny Easter celebration. Or, we could get a life, a new life, praying grace to love that difficult-to-love person next door, across the aisle or on the other side, wherever that is.
In and through our Crucified and Risen Lord, Jesus Christ,
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Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Rocky Mountain Synod
ZION EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH
1070 Foothill Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84108