I realized today that Easter has become a sort of symbol of newness in my own life, too. For the past few years, Easter has marked the end of something that's always existed in my life and the beginning of something new.
Easter 2008 found me in Connecticut, far away from the Easter traditions I had always known. That trip solidified friendships I had been forming my first year and a half at school, and I began to realize that while I will always look forward to visits home, God can and does provide meaningful relationships in whatever area of the world He takes me.
The following year marked, in a way, the end of my childhood. Until then, when I went home I could always pick up exactly where I had left off before I left for college. Life looked remarkably unchanged. That Easter, I spent my last Sunday at FBF that felt like a Sunday from my high school years. Before I went to my next service there several weeks later, I had learned about some significant changes that would occur within my church family.
By the end of that summer, those changes all hit, and I could no longer keep one hand on things at Asbury and one hand on things at home and be within easy reach of everyone I loved. I am not a huge fan of change, and bidding farewell to life as it had always been was really tough. Significant change in my life, though, showed me God's unchanging nature, and right about that time He led me to becoming more involved in my church in Kentucky. The Body of Christ is the same no matter where it is located, and my church now has become as big of a blessing in my life as the church I grew up in.
I spent Easter 2010 preparing to say goodbye to my best friend and her family. I had never spent any time away from Heather before she got married, and even after she got married she was only eight hours away (by that point everything in my life was eight hours away, so that sounded normal). Their cross-country move would make things much different from what they had always been.
This Easter I find myself again preparing to say goodbye. While remarkably fewer changes have occurred in my life over the past year than a year containing a college graduation should hold, change is a constant in life. David and Tiffany have been very dear friends, and Kentucky will seem rather strange without them here.
As I look back on the changes Easter has held the past few years, I can see how it's all related. Because Christ died to save me, I, through faith in Him, can be a part of His family. His family is permanent, while life on earth is fleeting. Because of Easter, I can look forward to the day where "goodbye" no longer exists.
Until that day, I am on earth for one reason: to die to myself in order to allow Christ to live in me and reach the world through me. While I am here, I will be thankful for the blessings that Christ-centered friendships bring, regardless of the physical distance that may separate us here. Life will keep changing, but He never will.
He is risen! He is risen, indeed!