A person is given a gift. It’s a boat. The boat is on the shore. The person looks at it, and then walks away, wandering off and completely forgetting about it. This is the person who has been given the gift of life and the gift of faith, but he or she has no time for God, no time for church, no time for prayer. If this person does do some kind act for another individual, that’s enough for them. The words, “I’m a good person”, are on their lips. They have decided that they don’t need Christ to die for them. Besides, their lives are their own, and God has no real part to play in it. They have heard Jesus’ command that life be lived a certain way, and so they reject Christ and simply drift away.
Another person is given the gift of a boat. The boat is on the shore. The person sees it, knows that its purpose is to be in the water, and so he does just that, he places it in the water. This is the person who knows that life is a gift from God, and that the faith is the only real way to live it, but they tie the boat to the dock. The rope is long enough so the boat is able to go out into the main body of water, but that’s as far as it can go. This is the person who tries to live Christ’s teachings, goes to church each week, but ends up getting angry or depressed with the way things are in life. This person becomes filled with fear, for whatever reason, and it paralyzes them.
Jesus says to this person, “O you of little faith, why do you doubt?”. This person is with God, but keeps the boat tied up so he/she can always get back to the shore which they see as a place of security.
The last person is given the gift of a boat. Once again, the boat sits on the shore. They, too, know that life is a gift from God, and that faith is the way it is to be lived. So they put the boat in the water and get in it themselves. And it begins to go out to sea on its own. They look up and there in the boat is someone else who is in charge of the rudder, deciding where the boat will go. They have the oars. This is the person who has decided that God knows much more than they do. They give their lives to God. Here’s the prayer they say: “I give my life to you, Lord. Do with me what you want.” When storms come into their life, they pay attention to these words written by St Paul: “Every test you experience is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps His promise, and He will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to be firm. At the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it and so provide you with a way out.” They know these words are meant for them, and they are at peace.
These are the people who have their minds focused on the truth. For them, Easter is about a man who faced terrible suffering, a horrible death, and did not give up on God. This was a man of strength and perseverance, who thought others were worth saving. He gave his life for them. This man is Jesus—-who is God. And God has overcome death for us.
Those who choose Christ are people of victory. They are able to overcome the temptation to sulk, to hold on to grudges or be consumed by hate. Those who have chosen to be committed to Christ are cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. They hold firm to Christ’s promises and do not give in to fear.
Those of us here who have chosen Easter have indeed found victory—-victory over death, victory over life’s sufferings. We know that we have God on our side. We share his life and we are filled with peace and hope.