Easter as a Way of Life

Easter is not merely a Sunday, but a season.  We celebrate our Lord’s resurrection for fifty days until the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  Throughout the season, joyful Easter hymns fill our services and joyful hope fills our hearts.  Actually, Easter is not simply a season, it is a way of life.  Eastertide is the ongoing celebration of the saints of God until our risen and ascended Lord returns in glory.
Jesus’ resurrection from the dead changed everything.  It provides security for the parents who bring their newborn child to the baptismal waters and hope to those standing at the graveside of a loved one.  Like Jesus speaking words of certain hope to Mary at Lazarus’ grave, we speak words of certain hope of the resurrection each time we gather next to a tomb.  The resurrection of Jesus is the right message for every season of the year and every season of life.
Easter is the reason for our worship, our witness, and our service.  Everything we do is ultimately a response to Jesus’ resurrection from the grave.  That’s why we have campus ministries at universities.  That’s why we operate Lutheran schools.  From art projects to understanding the science of the world that God created, we operate with an eternal worldview and the cross and the empty tomb are the lens through which we see everything.
Everything that we do as congregations and a District office and staff flows from Christ’s victory over sin and death.  Hundreds of junior and senior high youth from across Missouri join to celebrate our identity in the risen Christ at the District Youth Gathering!  We serve in red t-shirts in our communities because our Savior served us by the shedding of His blood.  Pastors, teachers, deaconesses and other servants are sent out to awaiting congregations and schools to proclaim that resurrection reality.  It is a joy to see how the resurrection is being lived out across Missouri District among God’s Easter People!
In this edition of The VOICE, read about how missions across Missouri are living out the resurrection in their communities.  We pray God’s blessings upon their service.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan
Rev. Dr. R. Lee Hagan was born in Birmingham, Ala., and graduated from Concordia, Seward, Neb., in 1992. He holds both a Master of Divinity Degree (1996) and Doctorate of Ministry (2011) from Concordia Seminary. Hagan served as Senior Pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran in Concordia, Mo. (2002-2015) and was previously an Associate Pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Evansville, Ind. (1996-2002). He has been President of The Missouri District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod since June 2015. Hagan also served as Interim Director, LCMS Rural and Small Town Mission (2011-12), on numerous District Boards both in Missouri and Indiana, and during multiple Synodical Conventions as a delegate and on Floor Committees. He is married to Jill and they have two children.