Qualifying to Celebrate

Scripture Reading:

Matthew 5:17-26


Easter is all about one thing–worship.  It is the crescendo on the calendar, the ending and beginning of everything for believers. We worship a Risen Lord; the Cross and empty tomb change everything. Lent is an important part of the Easter event because it prepares our hearts to participate in the celebration. The paschal rhythm of Lent steels our heart to burst forth in jubilant praise. If Easter is worship, my heart needs help to qualify for the celebration. I fast so that I may better focus on my relationship with him.  I come to grips with who I am and all that I’m not but should be. I surrender to Christ and take my place on my own cross so that I may be his disciple.

But something else remains that is eminently practical. Jesus refers to it in the Sermon on the Mount, where he tells us that worship is impossible when we are at odds with someone else, particularly if that person is a fellow believer. We may show up consistently for church and produce an impressive religious resume. We can go through all the motions and perform all the right rituals, but our efforts are futile if we are not reconciled to our fellow believers. 

Jesus describes what it is like to live in the kingdom of God. Kingdom citizens care about others so much that they are more concerned for them than their own preferences. When people live in the kingdom of God they progressively become filled with warmth and tenderness and love for other people, such that if there is a relationship that can be reconciled they’ll run out of church to make it right–not because they are righteous, but to become more like Christ. Easter is a beautiful celebration, but there’s work to be done in order to fully participate.

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