"But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep" (1 Cor. 15:20).
Easter will be April 21 this year, or was it February 17? The earliest Easter can possibly be is March 22. It last happened in 1818, and won't happen again until 2285. But I still think Easter came this year on Sunday, February 17.
That's because Sunday's Epistle, read in thousands of churches, was from 1 Corinthians 15, including verse 20. On Sunday it felt like Easter! And I say it was.
The sermon presented three fundamental truths: Christ is risen, we too shall be raised, and therefore we don't need to be afraid.
And about that last one. What are the first words of the Easter angel in Matthew 28? "Do not be afraid." And what is the opposite of fear? Peace. And what are the first words of the risen Jesus to His disciples? "Peace be with you." And what are the last words of the pastor at Holy Communion? "Depart in peace." And what does that mean? That it's safe now to die. It's safe now to get older. It's safe now to get sick. And it's safe now to live. Because He lives!
Two months from today is Good Friday, followed by Easter. But you don't have to wait that long. The bright hope of the resurrection came in February this year, to encourage us through these last days of winter. To encourage us through all the days of this life!