In planning and anticipation for Easter, I often forget to sit back and truly reflect on the tragedy, loss, exhilaration and restoration that mark Holy Week. Rather than being invested in the story of redemption, I seem to focus on the events going on in my world: the candlelight service, the yummy lunch or the Easter egg hunt that will shortly follow.
This year, I don’t want to let the week go by unnoticed. I want to remember the beautiful story of Easter, an event that happened several thousand years ago and yet is more relevant to today than any other story. This story brings freedom, light, belonging: it brings life.
People have remarkable stories if we will simply ask, if we will simply listen. I thought who better to tell the story of freedom and light than those who recognize their bondage and have found a way out! So I asked several of the men in our addiction recovery program….
“It represents Jesus and his rising after 3 days. It’s a very special day. It’s special for me because he rose, so I am saved. And this Easter is more special because I am free of a lot of things: free of my addictions and everything else. And knowing that my twin daughters can see that is very special.” -Larry
“Easter is when Jesus was resurrected, and that’s where my faith is: in the death burial and resurrection of Jesus. And this Easter is more special, because I am surrounded by Christian people.
For the past few Easters, it was just another drunk day. But not this year, it’s more of a celebration. It’s back to the basics!” -Michael
“It means freedom. Freedom from sin. I used to be in bondage and I don’t have to be anymore because of our great Savior, Jesus Christ. I can be confident and full of hope.” -Brett
William Booth, founder of The Salvation Army said, “I will tell you the secret: God has had all that there was of me. There have been men with greater brains than I, even with greater opportunities, but from the day I got the poor of London on my heart and caught a vision of what Jesus Christ could do with me and them, on that day I made up my mind that God should have all of William Booth there was. And if there is anything of power in The Salvation Army, it is because God has had all the adoration of my heart, all the power of my will, and all the influence of my life.”
Now, that is something to celebrate this Easter: the lost, the broken, the hurting and the poor being given hope and life though the Gospel of Christ and through his church. Not through the efforts of man, but through grace.