Reconciliation is the theme of Easter Sunday – though not firstly a word of men reconciling their differences, but rather one of God reconciling man’s differences with Himself.
It is a word that begins with God ‘experiencing’ the enmity that man has with God by sending Jesus Christ into the world to become a man who would ultimately be estranged – violently because of sin – from His Father in heaven.
As I was meditating on and praying about the passion of Christ I was reminded of the symbols, types and shadows of Scripture. Some are specific and nuanced others more general and obvious.
There are two that spring to mind that are general and notable. The first is our multicultural, multilingual world. The story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis chapter 11, is the biblical explanation of how and why such separation came into being. It is a symbol of the work that man can do when united in a single purpose. This account demonstrates – as God declares – because they are united nothing they propose to do will be impossible for them. These people were united in evil to do evil against God.
There are many examples around the world of people, who would otherwise be peaceful, becoming violent when united in a crowd with evil intent.
The message of Easter is one that unites men towards God, rather than against Him, and thus provides a powerful unity that can effect great outcomes for good.
The second is the rainbow – it reminds us of God’s promise that he will never again totally destroy the world because of man’s evil; until, that is, the appointed time for judgement when each person will stand before God accountable for him or herself.
On Easter Sunday the rising Sun is a daily reminder of God’s reconciliation. Jesus, who became sin for us, experienced the brokenness of godforsakenness. He cried out in anguish, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Yet, at the height of the experience of separation and estrangement from his Father he says in faith, “Father into your hands I commit my Spirit!”
This event is an event orchestrated by God, in God and for God so that people could be reconciled to God.
In the Godhead the Father and the Son experience the separation of sin that exists between man and God. When Jesus is lowered down from the cross and entombed, it is a time of bleak darkness, sorrow, and deathly separation.
But as the sun rises, as light begins to dispel the night, the tomb, that symbolises death and separation, is broken open and the Son of God is again restored, yes reconciled, to His Father as the work of atonement is completed.
The sun is an everlasting symbol of God’s eternal love in reconciliation.