It has often been: “Joy is coming.” But Easter says: “Joy has Come, Alleluia!” In the Church’s reckoning, Easter is synonymous with joy and celebration, with resonating alleluias, which were deliberately piped down in the preceding weeks.
Easter, which is the commemoration and celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, is the principal and most joyous feast of the Church year. The liturgical colour is white, depicting joy and celebration.
The Resurrection of Christ is not just about His coming back to life, but also the death of death and defeat of the Devil. Thus, different forms of death and the manifestation of the Devil in our lives, including the devastating COVID-19 epidemic are defeated. It is an occasion for rejoicing and praising God.
Resurrection means taking up a new life with a body that is now imperishable, glorious, powerful and spiritual (1Cor.15: 42-44). It is indeed coming back to life a new man. Jesus is the first and only One to have resurrected. What others did was resuscitation, which is bringing back life to the old, perishable, debased, weak and natural body. That is why they all died again. Resurrection is a demonstration of the Power of God, by which even death is brought under subjection. It vindicated Jesus by showing that He is whom He said He is and that He is the approved of God.
The Resurrection of Jesus is the greatest thing that has happened on earth for the good of man. It opened to believers the gate to new life, both now and in eternity. It is proof of the power of God, propelled by His love for man. One important thing to note is that in raising Jesus from death, God actually had a man in mind – to grant life to the dying and “die-able” part of his life. The fact of the Resurrection of Jesus shows that God has done a great thing, proves that He is capable of doing great things and assures that He will do great things. We should avail ourselves of this Resurrection power for translation to a new realm of existence and life. It is by the power of Resurrection that we can overcome all forms of death, sin, flesh and Devil. It is in the Resurrection/Easter that the Gospel is found.
Easter lies at the centre of the liturgical year and has been observed at least since the fourth century. Easter Day is a particular Sunday of the year. However, every other Sunday is actually Easter as well. This is because the Christian worship on Sunday is in commemoration and celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). The proclamation of Sunday as Christian day of worship in AD 321 was only the official declaration and granting of a public holiday to the effect. From time immemorial, even before any theological explanations of the death of Jesus in terms of various atonement theories, the early church had seen His resurrection as the central witness to a new act of God in history and the victory of God in vindicating Jesus as the Messiah. This event marks the central faith confession of the early church and was the focal point for Christian worship that had been observed on the first day of each week since the first century.
HAPPY EASTER TO ALL! CELEBRATE, FOR JOY HAS COME, ALLELUIAH!
The Venerable Dr Princewill Onyinyechukwu Ireoba, FIMC, CMC,
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.