It’s Easter, the richest day in the Christian calendar. Today we celebrate the two events that define our faith—the redemption and the resurrection. This is the day that the gospel is fulfilled. It also marks the end of a truly remarkable week, one that started with a triumphal procession and ended with the crucifixion.
It was in the hours before Jesus’ arrest that He shared some of the most profound teachings of his ministry. After supper Judas left on his terrible task and it was just Jesus and the eleven, no longer simply apostles, but now Jesus’ friends, and as friends they spoke of what had been and what was yet to come. Jesus foretold his death, but His friends didn’t quite believe him. He told them about the challenges they would face after He was gone. And He gave them gifts—He washed their feet, He told them that when He returned to his Father He would prepare a place—a mansion—for them there. And He gave them the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, to guide their way and answer their concerns. It was surely the most remarkable few hours of conversation in all of history.
Throughout their conversation Jesus returns to the central theme of His ministry, that the basic commandments are simply that we love the Lord and love one another. More than once he tells his friends that this is the most important commandment, and one that comes with a promise. He said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete”.
Love one another. In three words the gospel is explained. This is what we’re asked to do, and we’re promised that joy will come to those who do. Imagine a world where people truly loved one another. That’s too much. Imagine a congregation or a work place where people loved one another. Still too much. The best we may be able to hope for is to be the one who keeps the commandment, who demonstrates love by acts of kindness and generosity.
Easter is a celebration of renewal, another chance to heed the Master’s voice, to love one another. Those who give so much of their time and resources to help a family have a decent place to live are keeping the Lord’s counsel. May joy be their reward.