We do not really use the word “Easter” around our house. I know it is the quintessential Christian holy day, but the word itself has roots, well, elsewhere. We tend to say “Resurrection Sunday.” After all, that is what it is. We reflect through Holy Week. We prepare our hearts on Maundy Thursday. We mourn on Good Friday. We wait on Holy Saturday. And then, we rejoice on Resurrection Sunday. Jesus has risen, and He is risen daily in our hearts. And because He is risen, we, too die to sin and are risen in Him, alive again.
But there is more, isn’t there.
I taught my son about the Israelites’ feast days that were ordained by God as they dwelt in the desert. I told him how many cultures from the earliest times have held feasts or celebrations during spring and fall because nature itself reminds us of what we have to celebrate and urges us to give thanks. We discussed the importance of Jesus’ crucifixion occurring on the Passover, which is in the spring. It signifies new life.
To resurrect is to rise from the dead. But as any little boy will tell you, when someone comes back from the dead, he is a zombie. And zombies aren’t pretty.
God built our hearts to earnestly seek resurrection. When He begins to draw us, the overwhelming feeling of sin compels us to run to the cross and die to ourselves.
But if we stop there, we are little more than the risen dead, zombies with old bodies and old habits and old hangups, still just waiting to please the flesh.
I think Jars of Clay wrote a song about it…
We all know the word “Renaissance” from our history lessons. It means “new birth,” and it is the joy and exuberance of spring in her glory. It is the breath of fresh air after the death of winter. It is color and song and light.
We are built for it, my friends.
See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being, I announce them to you.” – Isaiah 42:9
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
The Resurrection brings us back, and the inner working of new birth, or Renaissance if you will, gives us a new heart, a new mind, and a new perspective. We leave the dead man in his grave and embrace with fresh eyes the Kingdom of God.
It is a choice. This Resurrection Sunday, I will not walk around dragging my dead, decaying self, believing it is enough to have been risen in Jesus. I will not go to the altar, say I am dying to myself, and take those same habits back home with me to live every other day the same way I have always done. I will leave that old self in the grave. I will choose to accept His new life.