It seems appropriate that this day of hope be celebrated in the season of spring as the brown hills of winter are turning into vibrant green and seeds long dormant are bringing forth blossoms that remind us of the miraculous revival and rebirth of all things.
Newberry NOTES is submitted this Easter season in honor and memory of Newberry’s Christian commentator Joan O’Dell. It will focus on special Bible verses and discussions in recognition of God’s greatest gift, His Son, Jesus. God has given us the name of Jesus as our inheritance. Apply that name to every problem you face and enjoy the benefits and blessings of God.
Our conversation will abide on how to reverence Easter and honor Christ Jesus. Christ the Savior is the key to the Holy Scriptures. With that key the Holy Spirit opens our hearts and minds to understanding and believing the greatest story ever told: Born in a manger, the Last Supper, the Trial, Crucifixion, the Resurrection! Jesus death was unlike any other — Jesus was born to die. He died in our place, and His death gave us life. This good news we will tell others as the mission immanent in the Easter event.
The risen Savior comes into our midst with the charge, “As the Father has sent Me, and I am sending you.” As His latter-day disciples, we communicate to today’s generation, “that Christ died for our sins just as the Scriptures said he would, and that he was buried, and three days afterwards he arose from the grave just as the prophets foretold.” (I Cor. 15.3-4)
Where can we find Jesus today? How can we be in touch with him? Our Lord is present in Word and sacraments. When the Gospel is proclaimed, we hear the Word. Believing that Word which in the sacraments is accompanied by outward signs — water in Baptism; bread and wine in Holy Communion. We are in personal fellowship with Him.
Christians know there is one event in history that truly transforms all others. We celebrate this singular event during Christmas; continue its celebration in the seasons of Epiphany, Lent and Easter. It is the so called Christ event. We affirm this in the Nicene Creed and in that legendary verse, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
This love from God is ultimate love, “immeasurable”—describing how the Christ Event transforms all other events.
What a friend we have in Jesus. He is with us in our perplexity to guide us, in our sorrow to comfort us, in temptations to strengthen us, in loneliness to befriend us, in danger to protect us, and at death to take us safely to heaven.”
Because Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25), there is hope for all of us today. Because we have a new life in Jesus, we can triumph every situation. Let us make room in our hearts and lives for Jesus, King of Kings, and share His love with the world. Let us surrender our wills to His ways and take His message to those who still have the dim vision. Let us tell the story of His incomparable life from the cradle to the cross: let us proclaim the grace of His salvation and the glory He now enjoys with His Father.”
Thank God for Resurrection Sunday — Easter. This is God’s day, the brightest of all days, the heart and soul of Christian faith. Jesus death was not the end but a beginning.
Words are written in honor and memory of Joan O’Dell, beloved friend, a Newberry legendary analyst and spiritual leader. She has passed on to an angelic, revered world, but her words spoken over decades were heard in churches, radio, assemblies and will be remembered.
Margaret Brackett is from Newberry. Her columns appear weekly in The Newberry Observer.