Dear members and friends of Grace,
Blizzards come in various sizes and flavors. No, not the kind from your favorite ice cream shop. I'm talking about the storms that dump massive amounts of snow and wreak havoc on whole areas of the country. For the most part they stayed away this year, and that is just fine. But in the final week of winter the east coast was hit by a real Nor'easter. Do you know what a Nor'easter is? A storm might come up from the south, but when the winds swirl like a huge cyclone and bring in dangerous snow or rain from the north and east, they call it a Nor'easter. After the storm has passed, the plows come and the shovels are taken in hand to clear away even the memory of a real Nor'easter.
Does a Nor'easter have anything to do with Easter? Not much, but do you have a clear understanding of what Easter is? The month of April brings us to the end of the season of Lent, which leads us up to Easter. Do you know what Easter is? Of course, you do. It is the day when Jesus rose from the dead. Do you know why it is called Easter? Of course, you do. The sun rises in the east each morning, and the word "east" means "rising." So we call Jesus' resurrection day Easter, the day of his rising.
Do you know what Easter is? It is remembering a day on which there was a great earthquake, and angels from God rolled away a big stone that was blocking the entrance to a tomb. But when the stone was rolled away, it revealed that the body which had been placed there three days earlier was gone! The angels themselves explained the puzzling situation: "He is not here. He is risen!"
Easter is a day when we deck the church with beautiful lilies and sing alleluias to praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for bringing back from the dead him who had been crucified, had died, and had been buried. It is a day when we rejoice by saying, "Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!"
Easter is a day when the gloom and solemnity of Good Friday is replaced by brightness and smiles and Easter breakfast! Easter is a day to know that Jesus Christ is able to keep his promise, "Because I live, you also will live." Easter is a day to thank God that in Baptism we were buried with Christ, our sins and our sinful selves were put to death and laid in a tomb, a day to thank God that through Baptism we too have risen to a new life, a life in which we belong to God as his children, a life that will last forever!
Unlike a Nor'easter, Easter does not blow in unexpectedly, but its power and effects wreak havoc on our enemies - sin, death and the devil. With those enemies blown away, Easter brings us blessings from God that pile up and pile up and keep piling up.
Don't clear away Easter's blessings this year. Don't let them get plowed away into oblivion. Don't let the joy of Jesus' resurrection fade from your heart or get shoveled away to be forgotten. Let Easter's blessings remain with you and affect your life every week and every day, because that is what Easter is.