Source: Sherman Publications

Remove Images

Spiritual Matters
Easterís not a day, itís a lifestyle

April 17, 2013

During Lenten and Holy Week our Congregation focused on hymns we like to sing and how they relate to our Lord's suffering, death, and resurrection. On Easter we focused on the hymn I Know that My Redeemer Lives, hymn written by Samuel Medley in 1775, the tune, Duke Street, composed by John Hatton.

These words reflect the words of Job when, facing great struggle in his life (including loss of children, livestock, property and health), was encouraged to curse God and be done with it.

He speaks this confession of faith: "Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will stand upon the earth. †And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. (Job 19:24-27, ESV)

Even in Job's day people did not want to think about suffering and dying. They wanted to feel good. Job reminds us that without the suffering, without the death, there is no resurrection. It is coming through the trial that makes the resurrection such a great victory!

Every major religion talks about a tomb. Many will take you to where their founder is buried. Only the Christian faith cannot take you to the body because the tomb is empty. God defeated the powers of sin, death and hell, rising never to die again.

Who else could proclaim that? Lazarus? Yes, but he died again. Everyone Jesus raised from death during His ministry died again. Since then people have been resuscitated, not raised, and will die again unless Jesus returns before that day.

If you are standing at the tomb of a loved one how do you feel? Empty? Hurt? Lost? Maybe you question why this happened, wondering "what now"?

Listen to the words of the hymn: He lives to grant me rich supply. He lives to comfort me when faint. He lives to silence all my fears. He lives to wipe away my tears. He lives and I shall conquer death. He lives, my Jesus, still the same!

As you hear those words how do you feel? Is the edge of death softened? Is the sting a little less? Do you hear the words of hope? Is the hurt covered with God's healing balm? Do you hear the answers to your questions?

What is the Christian faith without the death and resurrection of Jesus, without the cross and the shed blood that assures us of our forgiveness? It is nothing. St. Paul reminds us that If in Christ we have hope only in this life we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Corinthians 15:19)

Easter is not a day, it is a season, it is a life-style and a life-time. Easter is knowing that YOUR Redeemer lives.

The Rev. Kendall Schaeffer is pastor of St. Trinity Lutheran Church.