For millions of Christians the world over, the Easter season not only represents the renewal of nature after the dreary cold of winter but brings with it the hope that the darkness of death and sin will give way to the dawning of a spiritual renewal through faith in Jesus Christ.
Evidence of nature’s perpetual process of renewal is continually before us. The darkest of nights is powerless to stop the renewing rays of sunshine the dawning day brings. The fire ravaged forest finds renewal in the sprouting grass and emergent saplings of the following spring.
Likewise, humans seem naturally disposed to renewal. Tragedies and turmoil often set the stage for transformation and progress. Individuals after a devastating divorce or financial failure, the addict, the cancer survivor, America after 9/11 or a community following a natural disaster — all find hope in the power and possibility of renewal.
Hours after the devastating fire at Notre Dame this past week, the people of Paris and the citizens of the world came together to pledge support that charred remains would serve as the framework for renewal and that the grand cathedral would be restored. The commitment to renewal united believers and nonbelievers alike in the hope for better days ahead.
On Good Friday, President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced an ambitious renewal plan for the iconic Salt Lake Temple and the grounds in and around Temple Square. In doing so, he invited all to not only watch the physical renovation emerge but to also join in a personal renewing of their dedication to Jesus Christ.
For the world’s Christians, the renewal found at Easter transcends buildings, cities and nature. It is a regeneration of hope and the rejuvenation of the soul.
The hope of renewal prevents every individual from being defined or doomed by their worst moment or greatest weakness. From the Bible, it is clear that Peter had a temper, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a persecutor, Miriam was a gossiper, Martha was a worrier, Thomas was a doubter, Moses stuttered, Zaccheus was short, Abraham was old and Lazarus was dead. Each of these individual could have given up or given in to human weaknesses and frailties’ but instead they found renewal in Jesus Christ who made weak things become strong.
No matter how dark or difficult the trial, no matter how dim or lonely the road, no matter how discouraging or depressing the seemingly never-ending night of sorrow may be — just as on that first Easter — a brilliant morning will come. Indeed, through the redeeming love of Jesus Christ, the morning will break, the shadows will flee and the renewed dawning of a brighter day will come.