Good Friday and Easter

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Easter for the Okamoto family is a multigenerational event.  We travel to relatives to gather and have a meal, and play competitive games called the “Egg Olympics.” There are prizes and fun memories.  Cousins, uncles, aunts, grandchildren, spouses, friends all compete in different ways for the trophy. Some are very competitive, some are relaxed and silly.  What is the importance of the competition and the egg hunt?  What makes the day special?  It’s the gathering and connecting that allows for a day of celebration. Good Friday and Easter, the most meaningful of Christian holidays, are being marked.  If you are a Christian, you know this is the most important holiday of the year.  It is the most important event in history.  If you have any reason to be a Christian, this is the holiday.

When I was a child, it was torture to endure Easter.  Sitting in church was not fun. I was bored, restless and uncomfortable sitting on a hard pew in especially uncomfortable clothes.  Memories of the day were not good, except for the candy.  I had no connection to the story of Easter or why I was receiving candy.

The measure of need to feel Christ’s love can be felt by how we feel gratitude for this day, and all days.  Is it just a holiday, a chore, a family event or can it be more than this in your inner experience?  Do you honestly, deep down, feel that Easter is the most important event in your life?

This word is not meant to admonish or nag that “you should feel this way.”  This is a signal, an inner measure of how you experience feeling God’s love for you. Some people go “through the motions” of the holiday, and although they understand it, it isn’t there for them.  If it is there, and you honestly connect emotionally, hallelujah!

If it is distant and difficult to experience awe and gratitude, with joy, rejoice in the knowledge that God wants you to feel more of His love. Continue to pray He will show you His love “abundantly.”  This prayer never goes unanswered.

But don’t be surprised. It may not come easy. It may come through a trial, like an illness, or it can happen through a loving relationship.  You may go through a tragic loss with extreme grief.  You might experience a painful illness with slow relief from harsh symptoms.  To grasp and feel God’s love is worth life’s trials.  This is the transformation that happens to those who have walked through Job’s experience.  At the end of his devastation, including extreme losses, illness and sufferings, he found a higher level of awareness of God.  This is the testimony of those who have gone through cancer, or depression, or loss, and say they feel closer to God and wouldn’t change how anything happened.  It is an amazing thing to hear and bear witness to.

It is important that Good Friday is before the the Resurrection.  We are privileged to emotionally participate in His suffering on the cross.  The experience is the extreme physical and emotional suffering, loss and surrender of the sacrificial, perfect and blameless lamb of God.  He was a “perfect,” sinless victim, not passive in pain and not defeated as He actively chose, to be obedient to God and suffer torturous pain, humiliation and death, to be victorious for all for us.  It is our choice to surrender ourselves, in response to Christ in faith, to feel some of His pain, even pain that we don’t deserve.  Because of His pain and suffering, we have redemption, and share in the glory with Him, all those who love Him.

Happy Easter