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"He is not here; he has risen!" — Luke 24:6-7

Today is Good Friday, the day when Jesus suffered and died on the cross to save us from our sins. It seems ironic that a day with such tragedy be referred to as "good," but God sending his only son to die for us was incredibly good, and through Jesus' death came his resurrection and the victory of good over evil leading to Easter — the holiest day of the year for Christians and the ultimate reminder of God's love for us.

Last Easter, the coronavirus was just beginning to really spread across our country creating a sense of panic and fear of the unknown for what is to come and resulting in one of the most difficult years in memory. We lost Missourians to COVID. Doctors, nurses and hospital staff worked nonstop and did everything they could to get us all safely through the pandemic. Small business owners struggled to keep the restaurants, hardware stores, barber shops, florists, ice cream parlors they had poured their heart and souls into open while many Missourians stayed home to slow the spread. Teachers did everything they could to make teaching their students from home as effective as possible and went to extraordinary lengths to keep them from falling behind. But this Easter season, Missouri has much to celebrate with our state successfully coming out of the pandemic and life returning to normal.

Just like with Jesus' resurrection, Easter brings new beginnings. It is fitting that it is always celebrated in the spring when nature comes back to life after a long winter, and plants and flowers have begun to bloom. This Easter, we can also celebrate new beginnings here in our state. With most students back in school, businesses opening and more Missourians becoming eligible for the vaccine, we are starting fresh and getting back to life in this great state as we know it. Just this week, Phase 2 of vaccine distributions opened. The Cardinals and Royals will soon welcome fans into their stadiums, and those of us who live near the Lake of the Ozarks will begin welcoming thousands of visitors each weekend.

Jackie and I will be spending our Easter at church and with family — an Easter egg hunt for the children and a good meal is hard to beat. No matter your beliefs or how you choose to worship, on behalf of my family, I wish you and yours a very Happy Easter!

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., shares his perspective each week on national issues, including ones that affect Missouri. He represents the state's 3rd District, which includes Jefferson City. His local office can be reached at 573-635-7232.

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