BY LARRY SCALFARI
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS
There is life after death and Easter is a celebration of this life.
There is a time and season for everything, says Solomon, the author of Ecclesiastes: A time to be born and a time to die.
We have no problem with being born; it is a wonderful event. It represents a new life, a new start and new possibilities. A mother carries a baby for nine months, feeling it's first movements of life. There are the preparations for the baby's arrival and then the blessed event happens and a new little person is born.
There is tremendous growth and transformation in the formative years. A child learns to rolls over, to sit up and to pull up to a standing position. They crawl, climb and then take their first steps. There are the first signs of communication, perhaps just a smile or eye contact. The first verbal communication is cooing and then come the first words, perhaps "da-da."
Young ones celebrate their first year in the cycle of life with birthdays, Christmas, Easter, vacations and traveling. There is so much to experience in the big world. Technology is thrilling not only with television and telephone, but also Internet, cell phones, ipods, laptop computers. So many sounds, colors and experiences to shape these new lives.
The baby grows to a toddler, and then before we know it, they are in preschool and the education process begins. They are growing up. This is normal, this is healthy and this is natural. There is elementary school, junior high and high school, often followed by college. Life decisions are made as to vocation.
Then it happens. Somewhere along the way, this young person is no longer growing up, but growing old and the battle is on. We exercise, eat right, try new gadgets and methods to turn back the clock. There are creams, lotions, pills and procedures that promise the fountain of youth. No one wants to growth old, and surely no one wants to die. We deny the existence of death. We will fight this aging process to the death, but death wins, or so it seems.
If we ponder nature and the annual cycle of the seasons, we see it reflects our lives. Spring, of course, is birth and childhood, summer is youth and young adulthood, and fall is middle age heading quickly to the end of life known as winter. Though we may fight, winter always comes. Try to deny it, but the days will get shorter, the temperature will drop, the leaves will turn and fall and frost will cover the ground. It's winter -- lifeless, hard, barren and cold.
But wait, the cycle doesn't stop here. does it? Spring always follows winter. The groundhog predicts it, young love waits for it. Though the cold tries to stubbornly hold on, new life prevails and overtakes its predecessor.
There is a resurrection and the signs are all around if one is perceptive. The days get longer, and birds begin to sing a new song, the south breeze blows, new buds appear on lifeless plants. Then a miracle happens and it seems almost in an instant, in the period of a few days, all nature comes back to life. What was gray transforms to a spectrum of hues that Technicolor can only hope to imitate. The fragrances and sounds of resurrection are a wonder to behold.
And as wonderful as this miracle of nature is, there is even a greater resurrection. That would be the divine resurrection of Jesus Christ that we celebrate on Easter and every day of the year. For Jesus truly died, and was truly resurrected from the death. This gives each person the hope of knowing that if they participate in the divine nature of the son of the living God, by coming to a real and living faith in Him, they will also be resurrected to new life in the world to come.
My mother was diagnosed with cancer last June and bravely fought, until she succumbed to death on Nov. 13, 2005. When she passed, it was a Sunday morning, with sun rising and spreading it's rays over the beautiful city of Colorado Springs. She left behind her cancer-ridden body, but now has a new and resurrected body, one that is healthy and forever young. She lives eternally because she was reborn in her savior, Jesus Christ.
We have hope that we will live eternally, because Jesus died, yes, but was resurrected. Death had to happen in order to have a resurrection; though it is real and painful, death is followed by resurrection.
This Easter, celebrate the resurrection, for death has been conquered. St. John states it best in that famous verse of his gospel, chapter 3, verse 16, which says: "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in should not perish, but has eternal life."
(Larry Scalfari is minister of music at First Assembly of God on Pulaski Road.)