My family holds a strong and long-standing belief that holidays are meant to contain enough food to feed an army…for many days. Even non-holiday get-togethers are filled with loads of yummy goodness. Easter dinner is usually made up of two kinds of meat, a layered salad, deviled eggs (dyed pink of course), mashed ‘taters, gravy, corn, my mom’s killer rolls, cheesy veggies (these were one of my brother’s favorites!), and a few desserts. Eating is not taken lightly at our household! And while food is of utmost importance, Easter also signifies the release from “no wearing white ”, and out come my seasonal white pumps (which are new this year!:) and spring dresses.
But the true meaning of Resurrection Sunday is found in the words of an angel: “He is not here, for He is risen, AS HE SAID!!” These words are among the most beautiful to me in all the pages between my well-worn Bible covers, and bring me to my knees in unworthiness, thankfulness, and awe. The reason we celebrate Easter is the very reason by which our faith is affirmed, the very reason we can come boldly before the throne of grace, the very reason we can cry Abba, Father!, the very reason we have true, abiding hope, the very reason we have peace beyond understanding. The reason we celebrate is that He is risen! Risen with healing in His wings, risen to strengthen us, intercede for us, comfort, guide, direct, and protect us. Risen to sit down at the right hand of the Father, risen to be our Savior, risen to be our reigning, soon coming King!
There is a poignant phenomenon that happens in nature every year around Easter. The pine trees ready themselves to proclaim this precious good news. They start their new growth in the weeks before Easter and yellow shoots form at the top of their branches. As the days draw closer to Easter, the tallest shoot will branch off and form a small cross. Even the pine trees declare the glory of God by these tiny golden crosses and shout out in their own way, “For God SO loved you that He sent His only Son to die for you. But wait, there’s more! He destroyed the power of the grave! He lives and because He lives, you can live also!”
The pine tree’s miniature reminders bring us to the foot of the Cross of Calvary and Jesus’ immense gift of love. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). At the cross His blood satisfied the penalty of our sin, purchased our freedom, and gave victory over sin and death! It is finished! The curtain has been torn in two, top to bottom, and now we have access to a Holy God and can stand radiantly robed in Christ’s righteousness, covered by His blood, and victorious through His might!
I love the words of S.M. Lockridge in “That’s My King”. “I wish I could describe Him to you. He is indescribable, He’s incomprehensible, He’s invincible, He’s irresistible,…The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him…death couldn’t handle Him, and the grave couldn’t hold Him. That’s my King!!” My Redeemer lives and because He lives, all fear is gone and I can face tomorrow!! That. Is. My. King!
As I sit here and read the story of Salvation in my coffee stained Bible and try to write about it, I am overwhelmed. I know I must proclaim what my God has done, but how? I am reminded of the movie “We Were Soldiers” . It’s my favorite movie and I know every word of it verbatim! Its story follows Col. Hal Moore through the first major battle of the American phase of the Vietnam War, the battle of Ia Drang Valley in November 1965. Joe Galloway, a newspaper reporter, hops aboard a chopper to the battles front line in order to better tell the story of the war. When the battle was over, however, Joe could think of no words to describe what had taken place. “Sir, I don’t – I don’t know how to tell this story.” “Well, you got to Joe.”, Col. Moore responded… “You tell them how my troopers died.” Joe nodded. “Yes sir.”
I am in that place. I don’t know how to tell this story, but I have to. Until the Lord takes me home and I can touch His beautiful face and nail scarred hands, I live to tell the story; the story of forgiveness from a risen Savior. “Forgiven” is my favorite word. I revel in its totality, bathe in its meaning, and am overwhelmed by its Giver.
These are words to “The Stand”, a song by Hillsong United, and my hearts cry: “You stood before my failure, carried the Cross for my shame. My sin weighed upon your Shoulders, my soul now to stand. So what can I say, what can I do, but offer this heart O God, completely to You! So I’ll walk upon Salvation Your Spirit alive in me. This life to declare Your promise, my soul now to stand. So I’ll stand, with arms high and heart abandoned, in awe of the One Who gave it all. So I’ll stand, my soul Lord to You surrendered. All I have is Yours.”
Happy Resurrection Sunday my dear friends!! Rejoice in knowing that His blood bought your freedom and He is Risen, AS HE SAID!!!