How will you celebrate Easter? Will you have colored eggs and chocolates? Inspiring worship and joyful music? Maybe Easter will include all of the above for you!
Sometime in the early 700's A.D., these words were attributed to Saint John of Damascus. For me, they represent the essence of what Easter is for us. It means the joy of new life, the triumph of life over death--in this world and the next, and the assurance of life triumphant over death infuses into our everyday existence.
"Now let the heavens be joyful
Let earth her song begin:
Let the round world keep triumph,
And all that is therein;
Invisible and visible,
Their notes let all things blend,
For Christ the Lord is risen,
Our joy that hath no end."
What we do with Easter, and because of Easter, proves to be the guiding principles for our living as followers and disciples of Jesus Christ. Because of Easter, we look to God to bring life to dead places in our lives and in our Church. We can live, not cowering in fear of the unknown future, holding back our resources for ourselves or our congregation frightened about not having enough, burying our gifts and potential to make a difference in the world. Instead, because of Easter, we live confident and generous everyday with the assurance that God is our future, and God will help us bring the future glory to our current reality. The same God who raised Jesus Christ from death is with us every moment of every day, and asks us to be bold witnesses to the victory of life over death, love over hatred and indifference.
About a thousand years after John of Damascus, another great Christian leader wrote words that you may sing this Easter season. Words again that remind and challenge us to live out the life giving love of Christ in the world today as Easter people.
Sing with me!
"'Christ the Lord is risen today,' sons of men and angels say. Raise your joys and triumphs high; Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply. Soar we now where Christ has led, following our exalted Head, made like him, like him we rise, ours the cross, the grave, the skies. King of glory, soul of bliss, everlasting life is this, Thee to know, thy power to prove, thus to sing, and thus to love". (Charles Wesley)
Grace and Peace,
Hee-Soo Jung, PhD
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has served as resident bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference since September of 2012. Prior to leading the Wisconsin Conference UMC, Bishop Jung served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area).