God's accessibility stands in the center of our hope


By Carolyn Magee
Guest Columnist

Easter has come again and gone. On that glorious day we went to church, sang the hymns, relived the story, went home to a good dinner and family and then put our hope once more in money, health, status and so on. Is Easter to come and go so quickly? Do we forget what it means besides new clothes and hymns and ham and Easter eggs?

Think with me on the deeper meaning. Go back to the Old Testament when the common man was denied closeness to God. Oh, yes, Abraham and Moses spoke with God. Moses communed with him, but even Moses was afraid to look on his face because God's glory was overwhelming. The Israelites were afraid that if they saw God, they would die.

The common man did not have access to the Ark of the Covenant. It was kept in the tabernacle and only a few were good enough to tend or touch it. In one place it is recorded that when some men who were not "privileged" touched the Ark, they died. In Jesus time, God was hidden behind a curtain or veil and only the priest had access to him. But three days in history changed that. 

The day that Jesus died, the veil or curtain was torn. God became accessible to everyone, not just the priest or the privileged, and God was not behind the curtain. He was naked on the cross in the form of Jesus. Exposed for who he really was -- accessible, compassionate, bleeding, for all practical purposes "dead." Exposed because he was not the God who, when looked upon, asked for vengeance, but who looked upon his people and offered them forgiveness and salvation. Exposed because he was not the God who, when looked upon, smote the transgressors, but who, in his own passion and death, gave life.

As we know, there is much more to the story because on that morning that we call Easter, he was not in the tomb. He had conquered death. He lives again. Our God is accessible, compassionate, ever-loving, ever-living. Therein lies our hope -- forgiveness, salvation and a life guided by his spirit that lives within us. Hope -- life. Not just for Easter Sunday, but for every single day of our lives.

What is your hope built on?

This article first appeared in "Chapel Chat," the newsletter of Chapel of the Cross United Methodist Church in Columbia. Magee is a member of Chapel of the Cross UMC where she edits the newsletter and leads the children's sermon each Sunday among other duties.