Let me tell you a story. It's a good story, a true story.
In the beginning, God created all things—the heavens and earth, the far-flung galaxies, the deepest oceans, the highest mountains, the farthest lands, the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky and the animals of the land—and he did so with precision and order. And then this wholly other, indescribable and perfect God also created you and me. So vast and big; so personal and near. This Creator God cared about relationship with us.
Right from the start, in our humanness, all of us have found ways to be suspicious of his love and goodness. We believe the lies presented to us about God from the world, the devil and our own flesh. "All of us like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way." (Isaiah 53:6)
Yet, when we rejected him, when our relationship to him was broken by our sin, he stood in our place at the cross, bearing our sin on his shoulders. As we will remember on Good Friday, this Suffering Servant was despised and forsaken, stricken and smitten of God, afflicted, pierced through for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, chastened for our well-being, scourged for our healing, oppressed and afflicted, crushed and cut off, anguished in soul and poured out to death (Isaiah 53). What love is this?
This Resurrection Sunday, this Easter, we will celebrate that death did not have the final word. Jesus rose again, conquering sin and death, and making a way for the restoration of relationship with us! Hallelujah! And each of us can be raised again to new life, resurrection life, in Christ by believing on Him and trusting in His sacrifice for our sins at the cross.
What is your response to this story? Faith? Wonder and worship? Amazement at the love of God for you? Or perhaps boredom through the familiarity of its message? Doubt at how it can really be true? Struggling to believe because of some personal difficulty or suffering? Where are you today?
Wherever you are, as you prepare to come to church on Easter, ask God to awaken your heart and mind to the true reality of who he is and what he has done for you. Ask God to give you fresh eyes to see him. Ask him to give you renewed faith to know him and the power of his resurrection. It is when we believe that we begin to truly find him to be wholly true, even and especially amidst the pain of a broken world. It is there he has entered into our suffering and sin to redeem us and give us hope.
And as you seek him, we invite you to join into the body of believers at College Church. Perhaps you feel on the periphery, unnoticed and disconnected. Perhaps you are unsure where to begin. Talk with the pastors; they are here for you. This is why they do what they do. Join a small group with other people to explore God and the Bible. Come to a Bible study, an Adult Community, a Men's Gathering, an upcoming summer forum, and begin to invest more in the life of the church where together we spur one another on to love and good deeds. Let the new life God intends to give you be not only in your heart, but in your ongoing growth in community and discipleship around God and his Word in the body of the church.
This Easter, may we together worship Jesus Christ, our Creator and Savior, the Risen Lamb of God, and give him all praise and glory!