Easter is ultimately a celebration of life.
It is the day we remember Christ's resurrection from the dead. But it is also a day to remember that that resurrection gave new life to us all - and by all I don't mean a narrow group of Christians who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour, but the whole of Creation.
The symbols of Easter remind us of this new life. We don't eat chocolate bunnies just because they look cute. They are a reminder of new life. We don't eat chocolate eggs just because they're a good shape and can be wrapped in foil. They are also a symbol of new life. And while we may miss it in
Australia, even the time of Easter is a symbol of new life. Spring is a time when nature is coming to life again - the flowers are blooming, animal babies are being born. Spring is a time of renewal.
So Easter should be a time to celebrate life - by recognising the beauty and wonder of the life we see around us. It should also be a time to reflect that this world we see is not just the loving Creation of the God we remember on Easter, but the world he came to save - the world he loves and cares for and the world he will renew. Easter is not just about humans.
Yet how can we celebrate life today when we fail to protect that life at other times? How can we worship a God who brings new life on Easter and yet turn our backs to the destruction of life throughout the rest of the year?
I've heard critical comments from Christians about Christmas and Easter Christians, those people who go to church only on Christmas and Easter. Yet if we embrace the message of new life on Easter and ignore that message for the rest of the year, aren't we also, in some way, Easter Christians? We give life a nodding acknowledgement as we go to church or open our chocolate bunnies and eggs and fail to really think about what a celebration of new life should mean or reflect it in our daily lives.
Life is the diversity of species on this planet. Life is a healthy atmosphere. Life is the conditions that exist on earth to help all life on earth flourish. Life is the wondrous places that exist on this earth.
Life is the animals in our factories, the species that are going extinct, the climate that we are altering.
Life is every single person who lives on this planet - all the people who are struggling, the people who are starving and the people who will lose their homes or their livelihood to climate change. Life is all the people yet to be born - and the world we're leaving them to live in.
If we truly want to celebrate life, then we need to recognise that life is more than just an empty tomb, life after death or salvation for those who call themselves Christians. We need that life is all around us - and it is that life we see all around us that God cares about.
And we need to commit ourselves to the protection of that life. How can we celebrate something if we are complicit in its destruction? To truly celebrate something is to recognise its value and do all that we can to protect it and see it flourish.
So let us celebrate new life this Easter - not just with chocolate bunnies and eggs, but with a recognition of the value of all life - and a commitment to look after it.
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