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Published April 12 2009

Forum editorial: Christians celebrate God’s gift

Floods, blizzards, fires and faith. Of all, faith endures. Of all, faith can be immeasurably important in overcoming the pain and loss caused by floods, blizzards and fires. Of all, faith is renewed for Christians on Easter morning. If faith is strong, no natural disaster can break the human spirit.

Today reminds Christians of the reason – the only reason – for their faith. Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world on Good Friday and rose from the grave three days later, Scripture tells us. His triumph over death – over sin – is the heart of Christian belief. His sacrifice grants Christians forgiveness and points the path to salvation.

The path is difficult, even for the most pious believers. Buffeted constantly by the secular winds of modern society, believers must be on guard to be, as the Bible puts it, in the world but not of the world. It’s a tall order, a difficult task, a standard that is all but impossible to achieve every day. But the trying and the embrace of Christ’s words are vital to a Christian life.

Easter services this morning will attract thousands to Christian churches of every permutation. Among the congregants will be many who are on the path to mature faith, but have not yet found complete peace with the message of Easter. They might never find it.

The Gospel according to John is instructive. In a debate with the Jewish intelligentsia a few days before his arrest and crucifixion, He said, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8.31-33, RSV).

“The truth will set you free.” Is that not clear? For Christians, truth is in the resurrection. For believers, the truth of Christ’s saga is eternal and immutable. In secular life, compromise with truth sometimes happens, even to the most sincere Christians. But human frailty or manipulation or doubt cannot diminish the message of Easter Sunday. The joy that comes from accepting the message is God’s gift – a gift any one of us can embrace, wherever we are on the path to faith.

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Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.