Easter: A Gift of Hope and Purpose

A pastor tells the following in the Augsburg Sermon Book for the year 1985:

“I’ve never seen such a crowd in church, the woman exclaimed’. I didn’t know her, but apparently she was impressed by the number of people here for Easter worship. Then, as she was shaking my hand and moving toward the front door, she added, “Do you suppose it will make any difference?”

I held on to her hand so she couldn’t get away, “What do you mean?” I said. “Will what make a difference?”

“Easter,” she shot back. “Will Easter make any difference for all these people, or will life tomorrow be the same as it was yesterday?”

That lady’s question is truly thought-provoking.

Easter holds the potential to significantly impact our lives in two key ways:

Shifting from Despair to Hope

Easter is a celebration that marks the victory over death and despair. It brings a powerful message of hope, especially when times are tough. Even in the darkest moments, Easter reminds us that there’s always a chance for things to get better, just like a fresh start after winter.

The empty tomb wasn’t the only evidence that transformed the disciples. Numerous encounters with the risen Christ ignited a fire within them. Mary Magdalene’s grief turned to joy at the sight of Jesus. The disciples on the Emmaus Road felt their hearts burn with renewed hope after their encounter with the resurrected Christ. The gathering in the Upper Room was filled with overwhelming joy as they saw the resurrected Christ. Even a larger group of over 500 witnessed Jesus before his Ascension.

These encounters were a turning point. The disciples, once fearful and scattered, were filled with an unshakeable conviction. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, they embarked on a mission to spread the Gospel message far and wide. Their unwavering dedication, even in the face of persecution and martyrdom (except for John who died in exile at old age), stands as a testament to the transformative power of the Risen Christ.

Finding Purpose

Easter, for many, signifies a life lived with a greater purpose. The belief in something bigger than ourselves and the message of love and service associated with Easter can inspire us to find meaning in our lives and guide our actions.

Many historical figures (Albert Schweitzer, Martin Luther King Jr, St. Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther, John Wesley, Bishop Tutu of South Africa, etc.)  discovered profound meaning and purpose through their faith. Their dedication to service and justice exemplifies how the message of Easter empowers us to make a positive impact on the world.

When the gospel message becomes more than a weight, more than a burden, when it is viewed as a gift to enrich life, then life has such freedom, such power, such courage, such strength, there is no limit to what can be done.

When life is seen through the power of Easter one can see for miles and miles and see all that needs doing, all the hurt, all the pain, all the suffering, all the hunger, all the inhuman conditions in which we find human beings, then we can help find solutions to these needs and through our lives.

“Someone once met a lad going to school (long before the days of buses and cars). The boy was carrying on his back a smaller boy who was clearly lame and unable to walk. The stranger said to the boy: “Do you carry him to school every day?”

“Yes,” said the boy.

“That’s a heavy burden for you to carry,” said the stranger.

“He’s no burden,” said the boy, “He is my brother.”

The burden of God’s grace is really no burden because it is carried out of love, our love for God and God’s love for us.


When we embrace the message of Easter, it becomes more than a set of rules; it becomes a source of strength and direction. It allows us to see the world’s needs with clarity and compassion, inspiring us to act and contribute to a better future.

This doesn’t erase the challenges – the pain, suffering, and injustice that exist. But just like the boy carrying his brother, the “burden” of faith is ultimately an act of love – love for God and for humanity. It’s a source of strength that allows us to confront challenges and work towards a brighter future.

Easter is a call to reflection. How far are we willing to let our faith in Christ challenge us to live positively?

Rev Anthony Loh

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