"The sky’s the limit" - at least, it is if the story of Jesus being raised from the dead is true. That is something we all have to decide for ourselves. The evidence is there - the stories in the Gospels, the history of Christianity, the personal experience of men and women all over the world that Jesus is alive and active - but we have to make up our own minds about it.
Once we say "yes" to the Easter story, everything is different. Life is not just this mortal, physical existence for a few short years, but leads on to something greater, something we can hardly even begin to imagine. Death does not lead to an empty void but to life with God. And in that context everything we do here and now has to be set against the backcloth of God's eternity. Deeds - and even thoughts - have consequences, and we have to accept responsibility for what we do.
That could be an utterly depressing thought. We know our own frailty and fallibility. But, Jesus raised from the dead is Jesus vindicated, and what He showed us of God's is the definitive truth about God's nature. So we have to put the love and compassion of God alongside His holiness, and we know, through the cross that God is prepared to go to infinite lengths to forgive our failings and restore us to friendship with Him. The living Jesus shows us God as Father and Friend as well as Lord and Judge, and opens up for us the possibility of a personal relationship with Him.
More than that, Jesus shows us that evil and death are conquered powers, and that brings a glorious ray of hope into the darkness and tragedy of human life. Because of Easter, the world is a different place. How we need to be assured of this! To look for sunshine beyond the clouds is not just wishful thinking: because of the resurrection of Jesus it is a definite promise. And the challenge to Christians is to live out that hope now, in order to help make it a reality here and now. Beyond all the troubles of life is the triumph of God, which Jesus's resurrection foreshadows and inaugurates.
That's why we can say, "the sky’s the limit". In the old-fashioned world-view, the sky (heaven) is the limit and the goal of human life. In terms of human aspirations there is nothing good and loving that we cannot dream of, and the God who raised Jesus from death can make our dreams come true. What a wonderful message of hope this is for our troubled world. I hope and pray that you will glimpse something of this transforming miracle this Easter, and recognize for yourself the power and activity of the living Jesus in your own life and in the world around us.
"Christ is risen - He is risen indeed. Alleluia". That Easter greeting of the Eastern Orthodox Churches is my Easter greeting to all readers of Focus, and I invite you to come and share the joy in the worship of our Church congregations this Easter. MALCOLM
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About the Vicar's Letter
The Vicar's Letter has been appearing in the villages Focus magazine since August 2002.
The Rev. Peter Graham also used to publish The Vicar's Letter in the parish magazine of 1964. Please see the Vicar's Letter area for these.