Friday, April 22, 2011

Hope Against All Odds

Almost no one in my city is celebrating Easter.  People have heard of “Paskalya” or Egg Festival, as they call it, but no one is celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  As far as the eye can see, everything looks to be business as usual: block after block of 10 story cement apartment buildings, schools, parks, supermarkets.

I smile to myself because men aren’t celebrating the new life of Jesus Christ, but our Creator has put many signs of new life here: singing birds, flowers, and newly budding trees.  They are messengers of spring and heralds of hope.

In small pockets around this city of 4 million, believers are remembering Jesus’ resurrection.  Ten churches are planning celebrations. Our group is planning a picnic with a few non-believing friends.  We will eat together, play games, and share a 4 minute message on the meaning of Easter. Today I will take handmade Easter cards and cake to my M. neighbors, to wish them a Happy Spring.

Last night my husband and I hosted 20 English speaking young people in our home.  We read and discussed the crucifixion of Jesus from Matthew 27.  They had several insights that helped me see the scene with new eyes.  We were particularly struck by the Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus.  The same soldiers who mocked him and struck him trembled with fear hours later after they’d seen darkness come over the land, after they experienced the earthquake that accompanied Jesus’ death.   “Surely this was the son of God,” they cried.  The soldiers were convinced, but Jesus still lay dead. The disciples’ hopes in Jesus as the deliverer of Israel were crushed.

No one suspected that three days later Jesus Christ would resurrect from the dead in the most glorious display of God’s power ever seen on earth.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ gives me hope. 
  • Hope that my Christian faith is really true since Jesus proved He was the son of God by conquering death.
  • Hope that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead dwells inside of me, giving me strength and joy for each day.
  • Hope that God will fulfill the dreams He has given me, even though sometimes the small steps I take towards them seem plodding and slow.
  • Hope that our city will be transformed as more and more people find the freedom of reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ.
  • Hope that there’s more to life than what I can see.
  • Hope that no matter how bad yesterday was, every new day brings fresh possibilities.
  • Hope that one day I will also be raised from the dead to spend eternity with God.

What are you hoping for this Easter?  Even if your dreams look impossible and your hopes are all but dead, remember that God’s power brings new life even from death.

“Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!” (Romans 15:13, The Message)

Happy Easter! Christ is risen!


Anonymous said...

Canim this is very inspiring. Thank you :)

OliveTree said...

I have many hopes for you too, canim.;)

Simple Life Journey said...

How sad that the most important day is just another day for most people. This is the day we celebrate freedom of our souls!!! Praise God!