I woke up Easter morning wanting the world to be different. In my faith and heart, I understood that Christ had risen, risen indeed! There was a part of me that wanted our world to be changed by such a radical message. With all the hate and judgmentalism and fear that is growing, I wanted Easter to bring about the end to all that divides us and create a place of radical love. But it didn’t. Our world was the same as it was the day before.
On Easter, I had the joy of listening to message that spoke about the power that grace has to transform life. It made me really think about grace in today’s setting. On gotquestions.org I found this definition of grace:
“Grace is an essential part of God’s character. Grace is closely related to God’s benevolence, love, and mercy. Grace can be variously defined as “God’s favor toward the unworthy” or “God’s benevolence on the undeserving.” In His grace, God is willing to forgive us and bless us abundantly, in spite of the fact that we don’t deserve to be treated so well or dealt with so generously.”
(“What is the definition of grace?” N.D.) Retreived from www.gotquestions.org/definition-of-grace.html.
Two things caught my attention in that explanation of grace. First, grace is described as an essential part of God’s character. And second, grace causes God to treat people in a way they don’t deserve.
Over the last months I have listened to good people talk about why they don’t like “that” group of people. It didn’t matter who “that” group was: Democrats or Republicans – Liberals or Conservatives or Progressives – Millennials or Baby Boomers – LGBTQ supporters or not – us or them – our country or their country. Almost without exception the space between people has grown increasingly judgmental and harsh.
Easter, with its passionate message, seems to be God’s revealing work that someone must take the first step in reconciliation, if love is to be truly known. I began to wonder how grace would really impact our lives. What if grace taught us that sometimes respect needed to be granted rather than demanding it be earned first? What if grace taught us to see others through the eyes of love rather than judgment? What if we wiped the slate clean, forgave and started over? What would happen then? How would “I” live differently in relationship to “you”?
I wonder how our world would be different if the grace of Easter became how people truly lived. What if compelling love became an essential part of my character – your character – the world’s character? What if that caused us to choose to fill the space between us with words and actions that encourage and bless, even if the other didn’t deserve it?
It’s Easter and Christ has risen! Do we dare walk in that reality? The world may not have changed on Easter, but we certainly did. We are the church. This is who we are. We are Easter People and love wins.