Pastor's Pen, Easter Sunday

I was devastated when my father died. I was sixteen years old and my father had been the most important person in my life. We would work together around the house on weekends, we would watch old cowboy or war movies together after our Saturday chores, and for most evenings, we would drive to some small arena for hockey practice or a game. My father was someone who was like a rock for me, the person I could always rely on and the person I knew would make everything all right for me. When he died, it was as if the ground under my feet was suddenly and violently taken away. I had been a happy person but I became quiet and sad. For the next twenty years I lived only a half-life in a way – I would smile and do all the things I was supposed to do, but inside I felt as if my heart was broken, and broken beyond repair. I would pray and pray, asking God to take this sadness away so that I could just be like everyone else, that is, that I could be happy and enjoy life. There were moments over those twenty years when God did provide some healing but there remained deep within me a sadness, which seemed too rooted to leave. It wasn’t until I was on retreat in the Philippines when this sadness—and a type of despair that said my sadness could never leave, could never be healed—was taken away. The final healing grace of God was not really a healing about my father’s death, rather it had to do with love. When I prayed that Jesus was taken down from the Cross, I remember seeing his face, a face that had suffered extreme pain, a face that had blood on it, a face that was dirty and a face on which could be seen the tracks of tears. In this face I saw one thing – LOVE. I saw a God who would go to such an extreme, who would go to such a place and put himself into such hands to allow himself to be crucified so that I and we could know in our hearts the most amazing love God has for us. ​ When my father died, the sadness I felt sort of made me forget how to love and how to be loved. I felt I couldn’t be loved and that love was gone from my life. I felt like Mary Magdalene outside the tomb – hope was gone and only memories remained with the dreams of what could have been. But we are a people of Easter and this is announced by the tender voice of God, “Jesus said to her Mary!” This is the moment for Mary and for all of us to know in our hearts this most incredible thing – no matter what happens in our life, no matter if we are going through good times or bad times, love is not absent from us because God is not and never will be absent from us. The joy that Easter offers to our hearts is the knowledge that love is eternal. The peace that Easter offers to our hearts is the knowledge that love is eternal. The hope that Easter offers to our hearts is the knowledge that love is eternal and is given fully to each of us. Church, the tomb is empty! And it is empty because the Risen Lord has left it to stand at your side and to hold your hand. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; [and] he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” God the Father was with him and Jesus Christ is with us.
God Bless and Take Care!
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