Forty-five

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Two weeks ago I felt guilty at church, and it wasn’t for my sin. I sat close to the front, as my family usually does. I sang loudly, and often off-key. I wanted fewer slow-paced, repentant songs, and more pep! I swayed back and forth as I held my daughter. I could not stop smiling.

And that’s why I felt guilty.

There is a lot of hurt in our church right now. Some I am aware of, most of it I am not, but in a room with 300 people, there is hurt. There are families being crushed by life. There are broken hearts, there is faith being shaken. There is sickness and pain and sadness. How dare I be happy?

It’s also still Lent. These 40 days leading up to Easter are supposed to be a time of focus and reflection on Christ’s suffering on my behalf. I should be sorrowful, remembering Christ’s temptation by Satan in the desert, the desertion of his friends, Judas’ betrayal, his loneliness and agony in the garden. I’m supposed to be denying myself something I love and crave so that I can love and crave Jesus more.

While all those things are true, it is also true that for me, and for all of us living after the time of Christ, Easter has already happened. While we can and should reflect on his suffering, loneliness, pain, and excruciating death, we cannot separate all of that from his overwhelming, overcoming, conquering power over sin, death, and the grave. We cannot lose focus of his resurrection because to do so would leave us without hope.

Easter hope is real hope. Easter hope makes all the difference in the world. Easter hope means “whatever comes, we shall endure.”

Easter hope is alive and well for me and you today and that is certainly something to smile about.

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