Today is Easter Sunday. The celebration of Easter has been a journey for me. The church of my childhood did not officially recognize Easter as a religious holiday (since it is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, I suppose), so for years I thought Easter was little more than new dresses, bunnies, and a filled basket on Easter morning. Oh, of course Easter celebrated the Resurrection, but didn't we do that every Sunday?
I'm glad the church of my adulthood recognizes the beauty and necessity of special days and special celebrations. Easter is special. The Resurrection is the center point of our faith; without it, we're all wasting our time. And personally, the Resurrection has taken on a whole new meaning for me.
I think that the church of my childhood confused discipleship and salvation. We were led to believe, whether intentionally or not, that our salvation was hanging by a thread. The scriptures about "working out our faith" and "making our calling and election sure" were heavy burdens, seeming to promise that only the best of us (whoever that would be) had a prayer of making it past the pearly gates. Salvation was a tantalizing goal, but never a certainty. But those passages are not dealing with salvation- they are addressing discipleship: learning to be like Christ.
It has taken me the better part of my life to figure this out. Sinless perfection is not my goal; learning to love like Jesus is. And because God's grace is great enough to cover my selfishness, my pride, my laziness, and all the other things I struggle with, I can rest secure in my calling as a daughter of God. Jesus has it covered, and the Resurrection proves it. God did what He said He would do then, and because of that, I choose to believe He'll do what he says He will do in the future.
I choose to believe that grace covers even me.
I choose to believe that I don't have to be afraid of dying.
I choose to believe that when I die, something fabulous awaits, beyond my wildest imagination.
I choose to believe that even though I don't understand, God is in control.
I choose to believe that God, the perfect Father, loves my children more than I could ever begin to, and they are safe in His hands.
I choose to believe that God is who He says he is, and He will do what he says He will do.
I choose to believe.