Pastor Ron Burcham, Risen Savior Lutheran Church
I have been in several gated communities in Chandler and have always been impressed with the security they offer. If you don’t have a card or special device to put in your car, the only way into the community is through the gate with a security guard. Depending upon which community you live in, you either have to be on the list of residents to be allowed in or you have to, at the very least, give the name of whom you will be visiting. The bottom line is, if you don’t have a home in the community, you can’t just come in.
This month, Christians around the world will be celebrating Easter. It is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christians believe that, through faith in Him, we have an eternal home in heaven and it is one exclusive neighborhood. I don’t know if St. Peter will be at the gate, but I do know that the only people living there will be perfect – no, I really mean perfect.
Stay with me on this one. Heaven is a perfect place. If it were not, why would we want to go there? If that is true, then you cannot have anything or anyone who is not perfect. Now, at first, this causes quite a problem, since there are no perfect people. Oh, I have met people who thought they were God’s gift to humanity, but they didn’t even believe they were perfect. So, is heaven going to be empty?
Ah, here is where Easter comes into the picture. Christians believe that Jesus from Nazareth was the Son of God and that He was perfect, without sin. He came with one purpose, to make us imperfect people able to go to heaven. No easy task. In fact, it took His life to accomplish it. Although He was perfect He asked that the sins (imperfectness) of all mankind be put on Him. That is what happened on Good Friday when He breathed His last breath. He took on our sin and the punishment for it. When He rose from the grave, He showed that He was victorious over sin and death. Now to those who believe in Him, He declares them to be forgiven and, thus, perfect.
Each day, we start fresh, perfect if you will. This means that when this life is over and we stand at the gates of heaven, they will fling open because, in the eyes of God, we have been made perfect.
If you haven’t been in church for a long time or if you know someone who has not, perhaps this Easter is a time to come back. Church is not about what it wants from you, but what it wants for you. Easter is time to celebrate what God willingly and freely gives to you so that you can spend an eternity with Him.