Alleluia! The true meaning of Easter

By The Rev. Cynthia Espeseth, St. Hilda St. Patrick | Apr 17, 2013

Alleluia, Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia!

This is how we begin our worship from Easter Sunday until the day of Pentecost, eight weeks later. That is a lot of alleluias!

We take full advantage of saying “alleluia” throughout the whole of Eastertide, for what better response is there to the presence of God in our lives? God, who is alive and moving, inspiring and stirring us up to bring actions of love into the world.

Gosh, this strong Christian proclamation has probably already turned away half the readers of this column. Such a bold acclamation for Christ is, well, it’s rather embarrassing. Proclaiming Christ seems so politically incorrect these days.

But all those colored eggs, chocolate bunnies and marshmallow chicks are about Easter, and Easter is all about the historical mystery that Jesus did not stay nicely dead in the tomb after being murdered.

Easter and that empty tomb is about God who loves us so much, who loves all of life so much, that God changed the game. Never before Jesus was there a true and historical account of resurrection. Never since Jesus has there been such a story.

So here we are with this resurrection mystery and wonder and awe, and perhaps a little bit of fearfulness, that it really is true.

God really has changed the very essence of creation. When we die we will be with God; we will see Jesus, and all those whom we love again.

Can I tell you that I know this to be true? After experiencing the extreme trauma and sudden grief of my husband’s death, and its aftermath, there I am aware every moment that Bob rests in God, and God is leading me into new life.

But the resurrection is even more mysterious to me now. And I completely get it. I’ve learned that death is conquered by new life.

I have been thrust into living a new and transformed life. I’ve had to face death, and come through to new life. I’ve had to learn how to risk loving in the midst of being bereft and empty.

Jesus came proclaiming the realm of God. A territory of love, mercy and justice that we can at any time become part of. These were not just words of a prophet or teacher, but words that God did not let die that day on the cross.

We have a way to live where we know the power of saying “Forgive me” and “I forgive you.” A way of living where we risk giving of ourselves, and risk being intimate and vulnerable in order to make someone else’s life better.

Easter is really about letting go. Letting go of expectations, letting go of personal agendas and letting go of what we think or plan should happen.

Easter is the new life we get when we understand that we can make the best of this amazing life that God has given us by giving and receiving the love of God. Love that always redeems and brings new life.

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