My favorite Easter verse in 1 Peter 1:3-5. It begins, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” Yesterday I looked at two parts of this passage; God’s great mercy and our new birth. Today, consider the phrase “a living hope.” Some people spend the days of their lives moping around. Things haven’t turned out the way they had “hoped” so they throw in the towel and give in to despair. Paul looked at the funerals of un-believers and noticed that they are “lost and without hope in the world.” He told the believers in Thessalonica that he wanted to be sure that they understood that those who have died are simply sleeping for a time and there will be a glorious reunion. That truth keeps the hopeful from the depths of despair. Without that hope despair reigns supreme.

But the world is full of iron willed individuals who find various ways to cope with life’s pains and heartbreaks and setbacks. They trade what is eternal for what is temporal and fill their moments with pleasure, possessions, or positions of power or prestige. They live for the moment. They go for the gusto. “You only go around once in life,” the saying goes; you have to get it while you can. There are those who mope, those who cope, and then there are those who grope! They go through life seeking answers to life’s most profound questions; where did I come from? Where am I going? What am I here for? They experiment with every new fad that invades the culture; Transcendental meditation, Eastern Mysticism, Hinduism, Zen Buddhism, various forms of the occult, and some even grope through the horoscope section of the papers in search for purpose and meaning in life.

During one difficult period when things appeared especially bleak, the reformer Martin Luther was seen tracing two words on the table with his fingertip: “Vivit, vivit!” This is Latin for “He lives, He lives!” This truth brought Luther up from the dumps into a world filled with hope. Because Christ lives, we can live abundantly today. Jesus’ promised that he’d come to bring to us abundant life. But even more, we will live eternally tomorrow, a life in which the sins of our past have been forgiven and in the glory of God’s Mercy and Grace we will bask forever! So lift up your eyes, and lift up your hearts and lift up your spirits and focus your thoughts and hopes on the Lord of Life. Put a smile on your face and say, “Blessed be the God and Father of my Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten me again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!”

“He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.” Matthew 28:6