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March/April Newsletter Notes from Rev. Henson

Thanks to an Andy Williams song, Christmas is often called “the most wonderful time of the year.” In my humble opinion, I would have to disagree. For me, spring, especially Easter, is the most wonderful time of the year. I love the Christmas spirit, and the birth of Jesus is extremely important for the Christian faith. In our culture, Christmas gets all the fanfare; Easter isn’t as heralded as Christmas. Frederick Buechner, in his Whistling in the Dark, writes: “The symbol of Easter is the empty tomb. You can’t depict or domesticate emptiness. You can’t make pageants and string it with lights. It doesn’t move people to give presents to each other or sing old songs.” (46) Despite this, spring and Easter are my favorite for two reasons: the rebirth of creation and the resurrection of our Lord. First, I feel that spring is wonderful, because it is a time of renewal and rebirth. God’s color palette explodes onto the scene. The advent of leaves on trees and the blooming of flowers of various kinds bring life and vibrancy to a land that was filled with drab and dark colors. Even our clothes get a little brighter with pastel colored clothing coming out of the closet. In addition to the colors of the season, spring marks the beginning of baseball season. I like pro football (Go Panthers!) and college basketball, but for me, there is nothing like baseball. The crack or ping of the bat, the smell of the grass, and pop of a leather ball in a leather glove are signs of the hope and renewal of another year of being a fan. Second, I view spring as being wonderful, because it is the time of the year that we remember the resurrection of Lord. The birth of Jesus was important. The fact that almighty God enrobed himself in human garb and exposed himself to the trials and temptations of humanity is important, but the message of Easter is far more powerful. If Jesus had simply lived, enacted miracles, and preached, His life would have been monumental, but the curse and dread of death would still weigh heavy over humanity. Easter breaks the burden of death. Easter brings the hope of resurrection: the hope of a renewed body and the hope of glory. The Apostle Paul had far more to say about Jesus’s resurrection than His birth. 1 Corinthians 15 contains Paul’s great explication of the significance of Jesus’s death and resurrection as well as its implications for believers. Since Jesus was raised from the dead and given a new body, so then too Christians will receive new, resurrected bodies. Also, since Christ was raised, the holds of sin and death have been broken: And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins (1 Cor 15:17, NIV) For Paul, the resurrection of Jesus and his followers is victory over sin and death (1 Cor 15:54-57). With this victory, Christians have the ultimate hope. Frederick Buechner writes: “For believers and unbelievers both, life has never been the same again. For some, neither has death.” (Whistling in the Dark, 46) As the weather warms and Easter quickly approaches, thank God for the renewal of life on Earth and the renewal of life that Christ’s resurrection brings. Hold fast to the hope of resurrection!

— Rev. Scott Henson

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