Thursday, April 9, 2009

A miraculous empty

One of my favorite Easter moments happened each year during the 14 years of my life that I was a Presbyterian. The congregation would be standing, Pastor John would walk to the pulpit, and he would joyously proclaim, "Christ is risen!" Then we would respond, "He is risen indeed!"....I always got goose bumps.

Over the years of proclaiming those miraculous words back to Pastor John and to each other, at some point, it dawned on me--that's one of our most important purposes--to remind each other of the Truth of those seven words and the infinite ways that Truth impacts our lives.

I think its meaning became most up-close and personal the first Easter after my daddy died. As I stood there in that Presbyterian choir loft, singing "Christ the Lord is Risen today,!," something in my heart nearly burst as I realized that because of what Jesus had "finished" on that cruel, rugged cross...and because his Abba Father had "not abandoned him to the grave" but had raised him up from the dead...because of that...not only would I see Jesus one day (that fact alone defies words)...but I would see my sweet daddy again...and, this time, he would be completely whole! I would see my mother-in-law again, completely healed from the ravaging effects of Lou Gehrig's disease (and probably wearing one of those goofy hats she was famous for). My brother and his wife and their two sweet boys will see the babies they lost before they had even a chance at life in this world.

If Easter means nothing else...and thankfully it means HOPE. And where would any of us be without that?

So, on this Good Friday...while we should absolutely contemplate the beautiful, bloody, brutal Cross and the forgiveness and salvation bought there...we can know that (in the words of Pastor Doug)..."Sunday's comin'!"

And...since I won't be on the computer then, I'll go ahead and leave you with the only words that truly matter: "Christ is risen!" ( you respond:) "He is risen indeed!"

At the crack of dawn on Sunday,

the women came to the tomb carrying the burial spices they had prepared.

They found the entrance stone rolled back from the tomb, so they walked in.

But once inside, they couldn't find the body of the Master Jesus.
They were puzzled, wondering what to make of this.

Then, out of nowhere it seemed, two men, light cascading over them, stood there.

The women were awestruck and bowed down in worship.

The men said,

"Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery?

He is not here, but raised up.

Remember how he told you when you were still back in Galilee

that he had to be handed over to sinners,

be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?"

Then they remembered Jesus' words.
(Luke 24:1-8, The Message)

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!

Earth and heaven in chorus say, Alleluia!

Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!

Sing, ye heavens, and earth reply, Alleluia!

Love's redeeming work is done, Alleluia!

Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids him rise, Alleluia!

Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!

Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!

Once he died our souls to save, Alleluia!

Where's thy victory, boasting grave? Alleluia!

(Words by Charles Wesley, 1707-1788.
Music by Lyra Davidica, 1708)

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