Love’s Redeeming Work

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Love’s redeeming work is done,
fought the fight, the battle won.
death in vain forbids him rise;
Christ has opened paradise.
Charles Wesley

Ever since Charles Wesley became a contender for the Golden Halo in Lent Madness, I’ve been thinking about his splendrous Easter hymns. Our Easter would be a bit less glorious without “Christ the Lord is risen today!” I also love “Love’s redeeming work is done” as it’s printed in the Episcopal Church’s Hymnal 1982.

Amidst the familiar music, the beloved traditions, and the sheer “special effects” of the Easter story itself, it would not be hard to lose track of what we’re actually celebrating today. We’re certainly not going through the motions so we can re-enact favorite seasonal traditions, as much as we might love them. We’re not even celebrating the fact of the miracle of the empty tomb itself — because the “what” pales in importance compared with the “why” of Easter.

 The point of Easter is beautifully encapsulated in Wesley’s hymn. “Love’s redeeming work is done.” In Easter, we see proof of God’s love of us and we behold signs of our redemption. We are redeemed from our captivity to sin and from our slavery to the tyranny of death. In other words, we are made truly free: free to serve God as people made in God’s image. We can be free of fear.

The paradise that Christ has opened for us is not just the possibility of getting our ticket into heaven punched. Christ’s paradise, his new creation, begins right now, in this life. We share in the eternal life of Jesus Christ, and we don’t have to wait.

 Thanks be to God, we have fifty days to delight in the wonder, the power, and the mystery of Easter. Let us rejoice that God has set us free through Christ’s victory.

 Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Spend a few minutes that think about what true freedom means for you. What has Easter redeemed for you? If you’re feeling really brave, perhaps share the Good News of that redemption with someone else.

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