Blog / Easter: According to Whom?

By Elizabeth Murphy
Sunday, March 31, 2024

 Easter  Grace  Love  Mercy
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How do you celebrate Easter? I’ll bet this week has been filled with coloring boiled eggs, or a hunt for candy-filled plastic eggs, even chocolate bunnies. For girls, the picking out of colorful dresses and white shoes. I know that was what filled my childhood Easter season, and carried on with my own children as well. This is Easter according to family tradition.

“According to” is an interesting phrase.  We use it to attribute a fact or prediction to a particular source such as: “According to the National Weather Service, this will be a rainy April…”

In the Bible, it might mean “corresponding to” like in Leviticus 25:15: “You shall pay your neighbor according to the number of years after the jubilee, and he shall sell to you according to the number of years for crops.”

Or used to point to the sources of our thoughts and actions, as in Romans 8:5: For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

Thoreau said: “The mass of men lead lives in quiet desperation.” And further, “A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind…But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.” 1

Maybe when we look for meaning in life according to the world around us, it fails us. If we get involved in some form of entertainment, these lose their luster over time; none can satisfy for long.  According to Thoreau, wisdom is needed to not do things that become stale, repetitive, empty. But according to whose wisdom? For this wisdom to bring us from despair to delight and keep us there, it must be deep.  Experienced. Visionary. Infinite.

When qualified with “According to God…”, this phrase takes on new meaning.  “According to” then points to the eternal well-spring behind it.  Where God is the Source, it cannot mean “out of” as if using its stores somehow depletes it, but “depending on” or “in conformity with”. So, if the resource is infinite, there is no question of running out, wearing thin, having to hold back or ration.

Scripture is filled with testimony to this:

        Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions (Psalm 51:1).

        And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

        He predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will (Ephesians 1:5).

From the first Easter to today, the power of our triune God is strong and vibrant!  The colored eggs pale against the multi-faceted technicolor of God’s grace and love. Our praise need never falter, our worship never faint because “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.”  (Titus 3:5)

According to each of our experiences this year, we may feel weary or excited, angry or jubilant, bereft or content. No matter what you bring to Easter morning, the well-spring of God’s steadfast love is over-flowing and available for you. We need not shy away or try to hide our fears or faults. Jesus invites us to drop them at the foot of His cross, believe in His love as sure as the empty tomb, and drink deeply from His cupped and willing hands. Submission was never so sweet as when the joy of the Lord is offered from such sacrifice!

As the activities of Easter wane into the days of Summer, may we live according to God’s grace and wisdom living within us.

        Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! (Psalm 150:2).

Quote is from “Walden; or Life in the Woods” by Henry David Thoreau; 1854.

All Scripture references are from the English Standard Version.

Elizabeth Murphy

Elizabeth Murphy has been following Christ since she was 17. Although this road has not always been straight, she has seen God’s hand in every detour. Elizabeth is blessed with and by her husband of 30 years, John, and 2 grown daughters. As an educator, she has been able to feed her insatiable desire to learn every day and share learning with others. Elizabeth became a student of Womenary in 2016. From the Bible to theology to cozy mysteries, Elizabeth is always absorbed in reading. This still leaves time for enjoying travel with her husband, walking, old movies, and time with extended family and friends. Elizabeth loves to walk alongside fellow Christ-chasers—learning and laughing through life.
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