By Rev. Cedric A. Broughton First Baptist Church, 301 W. Embargo St.

I don’t know about you, but I had a great Easter! The celebration of Christ’s resurrection truly is the highlight of our year on the Church calendar.

And the time of preparation (Lent) had for me this year the wonderful addition of weekly Sunday afternoon gatherings with a number of Christians from various churches in our city. Those worship/potluck times helped me to focus on God’s matchless grace which is revealed to us in a unique way during Holy Week and Easter. They also helped me to celebrate our unity in Christ Jesus, no matter what local church we attend.

So what’s next for me ­ for you?

All too often we leave the celebration of Easter behind so quickly and move on to thinking about the next special events on the calendar. Kids were off school this week, so many families took off on vacation. Mother’s Day is just around the corner. For me, my son’s graduation from college is only three weeks away. Plans for summer vacations even now begin to occupy our thinking.

Where is God in our thinking? What difference will it make in the days ahead that we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus last Sunday?

I hope it makes all the difference in the world to you! I hope you know Jesus as your Savior and Lord and rejoice that the risen Christ is with you each and every day, available to hear your prayers, available to guide your thinking, available to forgive you as you confess your sins, available to comfort you in your sorrows, and available to be that friend who sticks closer than a brother.

I also hope you realize that Jesus’ teachings while on earth were meant to help us and guide us through the challenges of those days we are not caught up in celebrating like we do on Easter.

Jesus counsels us each day to love God and to love each other. He affirms that we are to follow the Ten Commandments, but do even more, like love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. He encourages us to not let the cares of daily life overwhelm us, but to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness in the secure knowledge that God will take care of us. He encourages us to testify to his resurrection and the hope of eternal life that will allow any believer in him to live without fear of the future — to live life abundantly — to have the peace that is far better than any peace that the things of this world can give us!

I invite you to live the rest of the year like Easter has truly made a difference for you. And to witness to others that the risen Christ can make a difference in their life too if they will confess with their mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in their heart that God raised him from the dead!