April 20, 2014
Coined by author J.R.R. Tolkien, a "eucatastrophe" is a sudden plot twist near a story's close that saves the characters from certain doom, making way for a happy ending. A devout Catholic, Tolkien saw the story of Jesus as a perfect example of a eucatastrophic tale, a story of good from bad, salvation from suffering.
The Easter season is a time to reflect on unexpected joys, the gifts given and those that can be paid forward.
Terry Buckman, Presbyterian pastor, San Luis Valley
Sometimes what people really need is people, contact, relationships. That's exactly what Jesus did. He showed us how to establish contacts.
Jesus never gave money to anybody. He was about helping them and healing them in much more important ways. Our response to the needy tends to be at arm's length. We write a check or give to our favorite charity rather than to help people that need help in a deeper way.
God asked to have a relationship with us. I'm pretty sure God doesn't need our money. He wants us to have a relationship with him, and that's what he wants us to do with the rest of humanity. Spend time with them, get to know them and learn their stories. I think that's what Jesus' message was. That is Easter.
Dave Markwalder, pastor, Gateway Presbyterian Church
Easter is not only the most important event in history, it is the most incredible event. It brings restoration to what God started in creation by offering new hope to humanity and to the earth. The resurrection of Jesus Christ also brings meaning and power to Jesus' death on the cross. It validates the cross with new life offered to all. Without the good news of the resurrection, we would be in despair, without hope now and without eternal life in the future.
This Easter Sunday evening, our church is providing, cooking and serving a special Easter dinner to the homeless, needy and poor in Old Colorado City. This is what Easter is all about: bringing hope and love to others in need. Easter is about transformation - having our lives changed by God's love and helping to change others and this world.
Brian Kuiper, dad, Falcon
We found out last year that we were pregnant with our fourth child. We found out at 12 weeks that we were expecting a boy but that he had Down syndrome. It definitely shook us. Abortion was never an option. We had fallen in love with this boy and believed his life was precious.
Our other kids led the way, really showing us how special this boy was going to be. God created him perfectly with Down syndrome so he could bless others.
It was so scary at first. We wondered, "What are we going to do?" But it was really a gift and a beautiful blessing in our life and for others.
Timothy is 3 months old now. He's doing really well. We've called him our fighter from the moment he was born. He's had challenges put in front of him, and he's met every one of them.
A eucatastrophe is something that happens in a person's life that can be devastating that ends up being a beautiful awakening and a point of strength and beauty. That's Timothy through and through.David L. Dyer, pastor, Family of Christ Lutheran Church
If in the midst of any great sorrow, suffering, loss or loneliness in your life you find yourself led to the foot of the cross, I'll promise you a savior who knows your pain. It is there, kneeling before our Lord Jesus, with head bowed by burdens, that you will be struck with the great paradox - God has sacrificed himself for you! Jesus, God's only son, suffered unto death for your sin, my sin and the sins of the world.
Easter morning means that God, knowing your suffering, has conquered death and the grave! God meets you in your pain and in that moment he gently lifts your head up to see the barren cross and empty tomb.
It is in that moment I want you to know that God loves you and forgives you! While his suffering and death doesn't remove our suffering, we are reminded that because Jesus rose there is hope for both today and tomorrow. "Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed, Alleluia!"
Harley Ihm, senior minister, Central Christian Church, Colorado Springs
Easter. What is this day Christians celebrate as the holiest of days really about? Easter was established in the Garden of Eden at the fall of man. God made a promise to mankind. There would be a great war between the seed (child) of the woman and the seed or offspring of the serpent. In the end, this child would "crush the head of the serpent as the serpent stuck His heel" (Genesis 3:15). The salvation of man would take place through the victory of God's savior in this great spiritual war.
Why did Jesus, who was the creator of all life, leave heaven on this pilgrimage to be born in a nasty animal trough to suffer a life of abuse for us? Not only did Jesus willingly make the pilgrimage to take on the suffering for the sins of the world, but then he passed this pilgrimage onto us; to show the sacrificial love of God in his name to all the earth. That is the Easter story.
Col. Robert Bruno, chaplain, U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel
April 2014 is concentrated with a large number of holy days and days of special remembrance. Baha'i, Hindu, Jain and Sikh commemorations round out the pluralistic tenor of the season fueled by the major feasts of Buddha's birthday for the Buddhist community, Passover for the Jewish community and Holy Week/Easter for the Christian community.
For Buddhists, the Flower Festival brings fresh flowers to Buddhist temples in a colorful celebration. For Jews, Passover commemorates the liberation of the Israelites under Moses from 400 years of bitter slavery under the pharaohs of Egypt. The Seder with Passover food is rich in history and symbolism as the journey to the Promised Land is recounted. For Christians, Palm Sunday inaugurates Holy Week for the Christian community, commemorating the triumphal entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem by palm-waving disciples. The end of Lent is marked by the Triduum: Latin for the three days of Holy Thursday (institution of the Eucharist and priesthood), Good Friday (sacrificial and redemptive crucifixion of Jesus Christ) and the Easter Vigil/Easter Sunday: the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
The richness of history, theology and the symbols of light over darkness, life over death, water and new life, cross/crucifix as death conquered, come together to celebrate God's love for humanity. The fabric of America's culture is once again enriched by these celebrations that strengthen human resiliency.