April 2018: Thought For The Month
Time for a spring clean
From Easter eggs to dusters and black plastic bags, spring is often thought of as a time of renewal. Whilst chomping down our chocolate eggs how many of us are already considering when to do our ‘spring clean’ of the house, garden shed or ‘man cave’? After all everything looks better and we often feel healthier, especially after consuming all that chocolate, after a good tidy up.
It may be relatively easy to renew things outwardly — new clothes, a hairstyle, a new lick of paint here and there. Renewal on the inside can be more difficult. Problems from the past can haunt our todays. Broken relationships undermine self-esteem. Guilt over missed opportunities, pain from rejection, loneliness and anger from past hurts can sometimes create a swirling black hole in our lives that can seem almost impossible to escape.
So, where can one find inner renewal? Some look to friends or family, counsellors and self-help books provide coping skills, but maybe a look at the first Easter could also offer some clues.
A little over 2,000 years ago, a young Jewish leader fell out of favour with the established authorities. He was publicly executed, declared dead, wrapped up like a mummy and placed in a tomb. A large stone was rolled against the entrance and an elite unit of Roman soldiers guarded the tomb against grave robbers.
Two days later, the stone was rolled away and the tomb was found to be empty, but the grave clothes were still in place. The man’s closest followers, most of whom had abandoned him during his trials, reported seeing him alive again. Many later died horrible deaths for telling people that their leader had risen from the dead.
They had been transformed from the inside and it affected every aspect of their lives, giving them inner strength, freedom from guilt, love for their enemies and boldness to stand for what they believed was right. “If anyone is in Christ,” wrote one early believer, “he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
Sometimes life’s challenges can seem insurmountable. Yet that first Easter still offers hope. Maybe if Jesus really did come back from the dead, then people today can find inner renewal by knowing him personally.
As we eat our Easter eggs and undertake our spring cleans this month, might that be a message worth pondering?