by Bruce Dykstra
Easter is the high water mark for the Christian faith. Without Easter, the Christian tradition would just be a good way to live life. But the story of Easter, that is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, turns a good way to live into a way to live the good life. Easter is so important that the Christian Church goes through a season of preparation before the arrival of Easter. This preparation is called Lent.
Lent is the Church’s collective discipline of preparation. Our preparing often takes the form of giving up something as a way to draw our attention to the sacrifice of Jesus. As we sacrifice our want of something, we grow in our understanding of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. This discipline helps us celebrate the good news of Easter.
The part of the Bible that captures the preparation and sacrifice of Easter is John 3:16-17. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
The core of the good news of Easter is that God loved. What does God love? The World. He loves it all. When he sees the daffodil and the crocus come up in the spring he loves. When he sees a child playing he loves. When he sees the duck-billed platypus he loves. I think he might laugh as well. When he sees humanity he loves.
The wonder of God’s love is that he looks at the brokenness that exists in our lives and is compelled to act. What God’s loves does is give. God sees the brokenness and he gives Jesus. God knows the situation, knows the problem, knows what causes the separation between him and humanity and it is love that compels him to give the solution. That solution is what Easter reminds us of each year.
The remarkable thing about the giving of Jesus is that he was sent with a purpose. That purpose was to save. At times, we wonder if we are lost; yet, in our pursuit of happiness, success and meaning, we come to the end of ourselves and we find we are lacking in all of these. There are moments where things pile up and we find we need a spiritual reality beyond ourselves to save us. This saving comes through the giving of Jesus, which God’s love compelled him to send.
As I contemplate and prepare for the coming of Easter, I find myself summarizing what God does through Jesus as “love does.” God’s love compels him to give Jesus to save. As this soaks in during the season of Lent, I am challenged to ask myself when I love, what am I compelled to do?
The story of God, and Easter in particular, calls me to echo, copy and imitate a love like God’s that does something. What would our family, friends and community look like if we explored the world of “love does?”
May the love of Easter be yours this year.
May the love of Easter compel you to do what God’s love does.
The phrase “love does” comes from Bob Goff’s book “Love Does.”
Bruce Dykstra is the pastor of the River Community Church, 164 Davis St., Douglas. Call 508-476-6788 or go to www.RiverCRC.org.