by Ken Rolheiser
Christ’s Sacrifice and Easter Joy

There once was a big turntable bridge which spanned a large river. Ships could pass up and down the river, but at certain times each day a train would come along, and the bridge would be turned sideways across the river allowing the train to cross. 

A small watchman sat in a tiny shack on one side of the river where he operated the controls to turn the bridge. His four-year-old son stayed with him in the shack. 

One evening the switchman looked off into the distance and caught sight of the lights of the last train of the day. He stooped to the controls and waited until it was time to turn the bridge. To his horror, he found the locking control didn't work.

If the bridge was not locked securely into position it would wobble and the train would jump the track and go crashing into the river. This would be a passenger train with many people aboard.

He left the bridge, turned across the river, and hurried across the bridge to the other side where there was a lever he could use to operate the lock manually. He would have to hold the lever back firmly as the train passed.

 He could hear the rumble of the train now. Then, coming across the bridge from the direction of his control shack, he heard a sound that made his blood run cold! "Daddy, where are you?" his four-year-old son was crossing the bridge to look for him. Either the people on the train or his little son must die.

No one aboard was aware of the tiny, broken body thrown mercilessly into the river. No one saw the pitiful figure of a sobbing man who had sacrificed his son.

Now we can begin to understand the feelings of our Heavenly Father when he sacrificed His Son to bridge the gap between us and eternal life. Can there be any wonder that He caused the earth to tremble and the skies to darken when His Son died? 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).

Easter underscores three important facts. One, we are citizens of heaven. (Philippians 3:20). We were created to dwell with God forever. We are baptised into Christ’s death and resurrection, and we are heirs of heaven.

Two, Jesus is coming again. Following the Resurrection, we recall Christ’s Ascension into heaven and the promise that he will return for us. This can be scary, but Jesus is still with us in our prayers, in the Eucharist and in many unexpected ways in our daily lives.

Three, our physical bodies will be conformed into Christ’s glorified body. (Philippians 3:21). After life’s debilitating sickness and death, we will rise in a glorified body. In our flesh we shall see God.

Our temporary worries and troubles of this world pale in comparison to the glories to come. Even now, Jesus walks with us daily and we need to rejoice and be in touch with his guiding Spirit.

Scripture has given us a simple blueprint for life: Act with justice, treasure the Lord’s gracious love and walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8).

(547 words)