Be renewed, celebrate hope this Eastertide!

When I was pastor in the small, but exquisitely beautiful town of

Carthage, North Carolina, one of my laymen cautioned me not to try and explain the resurrection, but to celebrate it.

He said that Easter for him brought hope in the trying times of life and hope for eternity. He asserted that you can’t explain hope, either, but that word hops, skips and jumps across the pages of the

New Testament like a rock being thrown across the top of a lake to see how many skims and skips it makes.

In the past few years, my title has evolved. I am the president and chief executive officer, but since the advent of the pandemic, that “CEO” has changed to to become “Chief Encouragement Officer.”

A song from “South Pacific” says, “I’m stuck like a dope with this thing called Hope, and I can’t get it out of my mind.”

Easter is about hope in Christ:

H—for happiness. We all want to be happy, but few of us are. Look for God’s surprises in the most unusual ways. Listen for a child’s laughter or the sounds of the birds at springtime. Open your eyes and see the one who in a tragedy is helping to relieve the pain of another. Celebrate the joy of the happy, unexpected moment

that brings a chuckle or full belly-roll laughter. Happiness is all around you.

O—for opportunity. Turn those obstacles into opportunities. Never give up on your dreams. Too many people go to their graves with their music still inside them, with their poetry yet to be written. Don’t let that happen to you. When opportunity knocks, don’t knock the opportunity. Grab the brass ring. Hear your music. Play your music before the song is over.

P—for possibilities. Problems are possibilities in disguise. See the best in yourself. Don’t fear your own greatness. Claim it. Live it. Become it.

E—for Eternal. That’s Easter in a nutshell. Eternal life in Christ. Can’t explain it? You don’t have to. Just accept it, proclaim it, and celebrate it.

This is the third Easter to pass during a pandemic and throughout these trying times, I’ve been constantly reminded of the strength and resilience people demonstrated during this upside-down time. I’m so proud of you.

As we celebrate the hope of Easter, let me encourage you to continue to stay strong, continue to stand tall, continue to square your shoulders, and continue to be who God made you to be.

Don’t hide your light under a basket. Let your light shine. Be a beacon of hope.

Hope is what you hold on to when the going gets tough.

Hope for a better way.

Hope for a better tomorrow.

Hope for a better you.

And know that God’s hand is upon you. God’s Holy Spirit is in you so that you may know that what you are doing is going to make a difference, however small it may seem to feel.

Let your light shine before others, the Bible says, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father, which is in heaven.

May your spirit feel renewal and hope this season of Eastertide. You don’t have to explain it. Just celebrate it!

Written by Dr. Michael C. Blackwell, president/CEO of BCH

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