In a few days Christianity and the world at large will celebrate and acknowledge a holiday, which commemorates perhaps the most significant event in the history of this earth, the death and the resurrection of Jesus. Many refer to it as Easter. According to Pew Research Center,Easter is the time when more Americans search online for the word “church” followed by the Christmas season. It has also been noted that across North America, church attendance increases during this time. Some have even gone to the point, of identifying and naming people who only attend church during Easter and Christmas as “Chreasters”. Yet while some take time to find a name for them, there are churches which are intentional about their responsibility to connect with people during these special times, fully aware that these may be the only opportunities to reach these people with Christ’s mission and message of Compassion, Hope, and Wholeness.
As we near this special holiday, in which the most awesome happening in the history of earth is remembered and celebrated by many, I would love to encourage each one of our Adventist churches in North America not to ignore this most special occasion, nor to treat it as any other time of the year. I would love to encourage each Adventist Pastor, Volunteer Lay Pastor, church leader, and church in North America to have a significant community presence, as well as online presence, and to intentionally plan to minister to people whom otherwise we may not be able to reach during other times of the year.
Now, you may ask, what is the meaning of Easter? What does this time mean to you and me today? It means that Jesus keeps his promises. He promised He would die and resurrect on the third day, and He did. And that was not His only promise. He also promised that He would come back and that He would raise His people from the dead.
Because of His death, resurrection and the promise, we can celebrate today, knowing that one day many more graves will be opened, many more names will be called, many more knees will bow, many more mouths will confess His name, and many more will clap, shout & celebrate with joy in response to His Life, Death, Resurrection, Intercession, & Second Coming!
As you think of the Resurrection of Jesus, keep in mind that He wants to resurrect some of your dreams and aspirations, He wants to bring life to your broken relationships, He wants to breathe freshness and creativity into your career and profession. He wants you to live a life inspired by His death and resurrection, which means, that there is light after darkness, relief after pain, laughter after tears, and life after death.
Don’t walk around with a mild mannered face, without excitement, as if you were too good for the world you live in, looking for ways to catch people doing something wrong. When Jesus resurrected on that Sunday, over 2,000 years ago, He won the right for you to go about your daily life representing someone who lives and has offered life to the fullest. Be an Ambassador of Hope, cry with those who cry, greet every person that passes you in the streets, even in the elevators, smile, hug, lift up those who are down, sing, in your heart and out-loud, laugh, celebrate, clap whenever you get a chance, yes I said clap, even in the presence of God, pray, intercede for those who are in trouble, and love with all your heart. Remember, they will only believe what we preach about Jesus resurrecting from the dead, if we love them. If you are not going to love them, don’t bother talking and posting about the resurrection. The best way to show that He is alive is by loving them.
Jesus is alive and He wants you to be His eyes, heart, hands, and feet right where you live, study, work, and go to church. So for now, as we wait for the fulfillment of the beautiful morning promise, love Jesus, love your family, love your church, love your neighborhood, love your city, & love your world.
Live Jesus and His Compassion out loud and they too will know & believe!
Pastor Jose Cortes Jr., is an Associate Director of the Ministerial Association and leads Evangelism, Church Planting, and Adventist/Global Mission for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.