Dear Christian, What Robs You of Your Easter Joy?

To be featured in Concordia’s June Newsletter

Dear Christian,

What bends you out of shape?

What makes you anxious, flustered, irritable, and otherwise unpleasant to be around?

You have no lack of excuses. Gas prices, inflation, Roe v. Wade, Ukraine, another shooting….
baby formula shortage, your check engine light came, I-465 construction 365 days a year… 

Take your pick. Fill-in the blank. Substitute as needed. Some of these things are more trivial than others. Some aren’t trivial at all. 

Trivial or not, ask yourself this. Why are they robbing you of your Easter Joy?

Our Lord’s passion is not reserved for the easy problems you could handle just fine on your own. Jesus isn’t a cheerleader to keep you pushing through what you can manage. 

It is for that which we can’t handle that motivated our Lord to face even death. Yes, it’s for the forgiveness of our own sins and wrongdoings. But it is also to bring justice against those things which make us miserable and seemingly cannot do anything about.

There is much that will not be made right in this life. Road construction belongs next to death and taxes as always certain. Pointing fingers only helps so much with problems; It may help drop gas down a dollar, but maybe not. Worldly justice will never be able to answer for lives aborted on account of being deemed not wanted. 

If you want to be miserable, irritable, and for your head to explode, then you have no lack of material to work with. But this attitude does not and can not come from the Holy Spirit and the faith granted to us. There is a time for “righteous anger”, to be horrified by sin and to act – when it is our time, place, and vocation to do so. 

But more often than not there may not be a darn thing you can do about these injustices, especially if you’re watching news from all around the world!

Place not your trust in yourself to be the equalizer; commend these things to God. St. Peter taught the church well on this topic: “..the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment..” 2nd Peter 2:9

Instead, place your trust in Christ. He alone makes all things right and just. He alone is the answer to any guilt or shame of things we cannot make up for fully on our own. For those who do not repent, he will stand as judge. Either way, don’t forget he’s on our side. 

Jesus described enduring this life to be like a mother waiting to give birth (John 16:21). There is horrible waiting and pain, but it is followed by pure joy. Various times the Old Testament instructs us “Take heart! Wait for the Lord!” (Dt. 31:6, Ps. 27:14, and others). Jesus echoed these words in several places: John 16:33 I have said all these things to you so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble: but take heart! I have overcome the world.

There are, have been, and will be troubles in the world. This is not “breaking news”. Equip yourself with that which brings peace even in the midst of it. 

Let nothing rob us of our Easter Joy.

This reflection was inspired by a sermon I wrote for the 5th Sunday of Easter. You can read that sermon here: Revelation, Tribulations, and your Easter Joy