Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My Eternal King

I love Easter. Christ is risen, and with him our own hopes for the future. Still, for me Easter is about more than celebrating the fact that I have been given salvation and an eternity in heaven. What I gain is wonderful, but I'm also excited about what Jesus has gained. The good guy won, and that's worth celebrating all on its own. Jesus was the classic underdog—son of a carpenter, honest in spite of criticism, opposed by powerful enemies who fought dirty. But even when Jesus' enemies had him crucified in a travesty of justice, they still couldn't keep him down. Three days later he rose from the grave. There's no denying that Jesus would be a hero even if he wasn't my own personal hero.

During this Easter season, I'm happy for myself, but I'm also happy for Jesus. Everything turned out brilliantly for him in the end, and of all the people who ever lived, he most deserves a happy ending. Like Mary Magdalene, I am happy that Jesus is alive because I love him, not just because his victory is also mine. I would be lucky if Jesus loved me only half as much as I loved him, to say nothing of the reality of his all-encompassing grace. It's a privilege to love him simply because he is so good and so worthy of my love.

My Eternal King
My God, I love thee;
Not because I hope for heav'n thereby,
Nor yet because who love thee not must die eternally.
Thou, O my Jesus, thou didst me upon the cross embrace;
For me didst bear the nails and spear and manifold disgrace.
Why, then why, O blessed Jesus Christ, should I not love thee well?
Not for the hope of winning heaven, or of escaping hell;
Not with the hope of gaining aught, not seeking a reward;
But as thyself hast loved me, O ever-loving Lord!
E'en so I love thee, and will love, and in thy praise will sing;
Solely because thou art my God, and my Eternal King.
(anonymous 17th-century poem, translated from Latin by Edward Caswall)

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