As Christians we continue to celebrate the great feast of Easter for several weeks. Perhaps the church knows that it takes some seven weeks to grasp the full implications of Christ's rising from the dead. There are so many lessons to be learned. But there is one lesson of Easter that we need to be reminded of often -- the need to rejoice.
From the moment of Christ's rising we see the disciples "fearful yet overjoyed," "eating their meals with exaltation" and "praising God." Indeed, the disciples are rejoicing all through the Easter season, and they are an example for us who are meant to be "alleluia" people, men and women who never fail to be filled with joy. The knowledge of our redemption and the gift of eternal life should not only fill us with gratitude but bestow on us a joy that no one thing can diminish.
The joy of Christians is not meant to be some nave joy which fails to recognize the possible trials and tribulations that come our way. St. Peter in his letter said it well when he spoke of our rejoicing and yet acknowledged that for "a little while [we] may have to suffer through various trials." The pilgrimage of life is oftentimes filled with challenges and difficulties, and some of those challenges can provoke an overwhelming sadness that might cause us to forget the need to be joy filled. Challenges to our health or the health of those we love, or the times when we experience the loss of a loved one, these are admittedly difficult times, times when being joy filled appears to be impossible. But if we truly develop a habit of joy we may find ourselves smiling even through the most difficult of times.
Rev. Christopher Senk. PHOTO PROVIDED.
From the vantage point of one who faces the congregation, I cannot honestly say that the people in front of me look happy or joy filled. This is not to say that people should constantly walk around with a smile that makes others question what they are thinking, but it does mean that the kind of joy that we have been talking about is meant to lift life's burdens in such a way that it is noticeable in our demeanor. A Christian's Easter joy is meant to see life's glass as "half full," so even when the other half of the glass is filled with hardship and difficulty, we are recognizably still joyful for our redemption has been purchased by the one who rose from the grave. Let us learn to be a people who are joy filled.