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Husband, father, grandfather, friend...a few of the roles acquired in 61 years of living.  I keep an upbeat attitude, loving humor and the singular freedom of a perfect laugh.  I don't let curmudgeons ruin my day; that only gives them power over me.  Having experienced death once, I no longer fear it, although I am still frightened by the process of dying.  I love to write because it allows me the freedom to vent those complex feelings that bounce restlessly off the walls of my mind; and express the beauty that can only be found within the human heart.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"What Have I Done For Him Lately?"*

*Somerset, PA Daily American, April 4, 2010
as "The Meaning of Easter"

Several years ago, I went with a multi-denominational group of Christians to see “The Passion,” Mel Gibson’s heart-ripping portrayal of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It was a grim and silent group that filed out of the theater after the movie. We stood together, not wanting to be alone after such a traumatic experience. Turning to the man next to me, I asked, “What did you think?”

He replied, “Makes me wonder what I’ve done for him lately.”

Today is Easter Sunday; the traditional celebration of the day the Christ arose from the dead and appeared to his disciples and friends before ascending to Heaven. While generations of believers have intellectually acknowledged this man’s sacrifice, it really took Gibson’s horrifically graphic presentation for most of us to fully understand the extent of that sacrifice.

Throughout his ministry, Jesus blessed and healed thousands, relieving them of all manner of diseases and infections, and granting them forgiveness for past sins. For those people, it had to be a life-changing event, yet the scriptures are silent with regards to the rest of their lives.

It’s a rare person who hasn’t, at one time or another, reached out to a person in need, usually a friend or family member. Sometimes, we are rewarded by seeing that person’s life turned around by that event. But there are also those who, after we extend, and even over-extend ourselves and our resources, accept the help and then refuse to correct the behaviors that caused the problem to begin with. This causes us no end of hurt and anger, especially when that person comes crying to us again for the exact same reasons.

Sadly, it also makes us more reluctant to ever stick our neck out again.

Now multiply that situation by about six billion, and you begin to see the pain and heartache that must be a consistent part of God’s day. When we sacrifice ourselves, we want to know that our trial was worthwhile; that our actions meant something. How many times have we been the beneficiary of a blessing, or even a healing, and gone right back to our old habits? And yet, his love continues to flow uninterrupted.

Easter is not only the celebration of the Resurrection. It is also a reminder to each of us to every day look in the mirror and ask the defining question:

“Jesus suffered on a cross for me. What have I done for Him today?”

If we are truly disciples; if we really count ourselves among the body of Christians, we must strive to live our lives and treat others in such a way that Jesus is reflected in everything we do and say. Easter is really not so much about yesterday and today. It is about tomorrow and what we consciously choose to do with it.

Then, and only then, will the crucifixion, and the resurrection, become truly meaningful.
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