We celebrate Easter, not just on Easter Day, but for fifty glorious days - the season lasts until Pentecost or Whit Sunday. We celebrate the victory over death won by Jesus Christ and the promise of eternal life, which he offers to us today. He died once and for all for the sins of all humankind. He willing and lovingly paid the price for our sins, so that we don't have to. His victory - the power of His Resurrection - is with us always and can touch our lives, if we allow it to do so. To think of Easter only as a past event is to miss the central Easter message, for Christ is the Resurrection and the life.
There is a true story from Uganda, which illustrates the transforming and life-giving power of Christ's Resurrection now. It was Easter morning. Pastor Kefa Sempangi returned to his house after taking the morning service ... to run into an ambush from a gang of five armed killers. "We are going to kill you", said the leader. "If you have anything to say, say it before you die." Kefa began to shake. "They won't need to kill me", he thought. "I'm going to fall over dead." But then, as he recalls, from far away he heard a voice, and he was astonished to realise that it was his own:
"I do not need to plead my own cause", I heard myself saying. "I am a dead man already. My life is hidden in Christ. It is your lives that are in danger. You are dead in your sins. I will pray to God, that after you have killed me, he will spare you from eternal destruction.&uot;
The leader stepped forward, his face had changed. "Will you pray for us now?" he asked. It was the turning point. All five men were to become members of Kefa's church.
We don't have to wait until the end of our lives to experience the life-giving power of Christ's Resurrection. We too can recognise the power of the Resurrection in our everyday lives, whenever all that separates and injures and divides is being overcome by that which unites and heals and creates. When we manifest goodness, we are ourselves raised from death and are also the agents through whom others experience resurrection. That which we glimpse in this life, we can confidently expect in fullness in the life of the world to come.
May the life-giving power of the Risen Christ fill your hearts with joy and gladness, this Eastertide and always,