Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
On most calendars, Easter is a single day. On the church calendar, Easter (or Eastertide) is a season. For the believer, we live every day (and especially every Sunday) in the light of the glorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior.
Some things are too important to limit to a single day. Just as we celebrate the incarnation not for one day but twelve, so we celebrate the resurrection not for one day but fifty. Eastertide is more extended than Christmas. It’s even longer than Lent because nothing defines us more as the people of God and no event is more significant in human history than the resurrection of Jesus. Even Good Friday, as vital as it is, only finds its significance in the light of Easter.
Saint Paul, the Apostle who said to the Corinthians, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2) says later in the same letter, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (15:14). He goes on to say, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied” (15:17-19).
Paul’s point couldn’t be clearer. Without the resurrection, there is no faith, there is no salvation, there is no forgiveness of sin, and there is no hope. “But,” he says, “in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (15:20).
The resurrection of Jesus as a real, historical event is the bedrock of our faith. Without it, everything crumbles. For this reason, the Apostles repeat several times that they were eyewitnesses to this world-changing event. Because he is risen we can preach Christ crucified, we can have faith in the God who has and will again defeat death (15:26), and we can have hope. We can have hope that those who have died in faith rest secure in God, hope that the good God wills for us transcends this life, and hope that God will, at the end, do for our loved ones and us what he did for Jesus on that first Easter morning.
Easter is a pledge and a promise, a signpost and a guarantee, of God’s future and our future. And that’s important to remember because the future can be a scary thing. We’ve lost many loved ones recently at St. Dunstan’s. We’ve gone through several major changes, and we face a new future together. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, and that means that both our loved ones and our future are secure in Jesus. That means that our faith is not in vain. That means that we have hope.
This Easter Sunday we had about twenty-five people at our 5:30a Easter Vigil, another forty-five at our 9:00a service, and one hundred and thirty-one at our 11:00a service. It was beautiful to see the pews not just filled, but overflowing. We also celebrated four baptisms (one at the beach later in the day) and five first communions. There was so much joy on Easter Sunday. There was so much faith, hope, and love. There were so many reasons to give God thanks for what he has accomplished in this world through his risen Son. It was a beautiful day, and one that I will never forget, so thank you to everyone who was here and made it such a memorable day. There is indeed bright hope for tomorrow at St. Dunstan’s.
If you’d like to make a special Easter offering to St. Dunstan’s to support the work that God is doing here, please earmark “Easter Offering” on your check. For those of our church family who will be traveling back to other parts of the country now that the season is changing, please consider continuing to support St. Dunstan’s through online giving, which can be accessed at https://stdunstans.breezechms.com/give/online. Both one-time and recurring gifts are an option.
I thank you all for the love you have shown myself, Michelle, Anna, and Joshua. I thank you all for welcoming us into your family. I thank you all for entrusting me to be your next rector. This is a truly special place, and we couldn’t be happier to be here.
God bless you all. Christ is risen! Alleluia