Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
On Easter Sunday, I joined with millions who proclaimed these ritual words that declare our faith this special day! The very familiar signs and symbols of the resurrection called me to worship. Flower-decorated cross, white lilies, cross draped in white, the familiar words of Gospel witness, echoed “Alleluias!”
These traditional elements of the Easter celebration tell of the profound message of hope we have in Jesus Christ. Flowers symbolize the annual renewal of the earth at springtime. The days lengthen, warmth returns, and the earth blazes with color and beauty that speak of the beauty of the created world. It is no surprise that these natural springtime wonders turn our thoughts to the renewal and the new life we know in Jesus.
Unlike many of the signs of spring’s arrival, like the cherry blossoms, the daffodils, and the green growth budding on trees, our hope at Easter is an eternal one which does not fade away. We anchor our faith in the Good News that life as we know it on earth is a preview of another kind of life which is ours because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Through him, we are assured that at the end of our earthly life God promises new life where we are at peace through eternity with God. God turns our sunset of death into a sunrise of eternal life.
Because of that promise, we claim our inheritance as “Easter people.” That means that we should be living today with the boldness of disciples who know Jesus and who live each day proclaiming our faith in him. Our lives should be modeled after the life of Christ; that all we know and love about Jesus should be echoed in our own daily thoughts, actions and words. Each day, you and I should become more and more like Jesus. What will your life reflect in the days to come? Will people you meet look at you and know that you are a disciple of Jesus? Not just on Easter, but always? Let us strive to live like “Easter people” each day of our lives!
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Robert Hoshibata is Bishop of the Phoenix Area of The United Methodist Church and presides over the Desert Southwest Annual Conference. Hoshibata presided over the Oregon-Idaho Conference from 2004-2012 and his blog postings are here for reference.