What does Easter mean to you? What memories of it are stamped on your heart? For me as a child it was always church and family time. At Country Club Christian Church the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra would always show up and belt out “Christ the Lord Has Risen Today.” It was quite magnificent, but my family time was what I looked forward to the most. My Memaw had the entire clan over to her place, cooked an enormous meal that would fill an army, and followed that with games in the back yard. It was incredible bonding time!
What about you? What memories are frozen in your mind? What memories are you creating right now? As I was trying to invite a few people to Easter service this weekend, their family plans overrode their church plans. They were basically skipping out on church in favor of Easter egg hunts, chocolate bunnies, and fellowship. Don’t get me wrong. Family time is needed! God wants that for everyone! But He also wants you in church worshiping Christ’s most glorifying moment. It was a moment that changed our world.
I want to start off this morning with some worship! Click on any of the links below to get yourself in the mood:
“Christ is Risen” by Matt Maher https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IExdrZGQVeI
“Christ the Lord is Risen Today” by Charles Wesley https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWbpsmBbZMg
“My Savior My God” by Aaron Shust https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gt0WluTpFTg
Yesterday I took on the lone perspective of Christ. Today I respond myself. My own words, my own thanks to the One who died for me. If I were to write a letter of thanks to Jesus Christ, what would I say? Read below if you’d like to find out …
Lord … I come to you this morning humbled, thankful, obedient. You have finally worked Your way fully into my heart, and my heart is in turn exploding with love and gratitude for what You did for me, for everyone. For years I went to church out of habit. I had my ups and downs with you, the lowest of the lows coming back in 2011-2012. You felt so distant from me then, but just as Shust sings out in my favorite Christian song of all time, you were there with me then, now, and forever.
I don’t deserve this love. How can you put yourself through torture for all? Everyone, from the holiest of all Christians here on earth to the Taliban terrorist declaring jihad against You, You died for ALL. It just doesn’t make sense to me. On the cross You looked down at the Roman soldiers with love. These were the same soldiers that beat You to a pulp, the same soldiers that spit on You, made You carry your own cross, and ultimately nailed You to the cross, dividing Your clothes below through a sick and twisted game.
As I read that story to my toddlers last night, my three-year-old was mesmerized by the cross. He asked me what a nail was. He wanted to see Your hands in pictures after the resurrection. He marveled over the holes in Your hands shown in the little children’s picture. My two-year-old piped up through his pacifier, “There’s Jesus’ owie, Dada.” The questions then poured out of my three-year-old, flowing like a breathtaking waterfall. I savored that moment. I answered his questions for about 10 minutes before finally declaring I would show him exactly what a nail was tomorrow morning in the garage. It was well past the little guy’s bedtime, but it was worth every second.
Thank you Lord that I have You now. I wouldn’t be doing this as passionately five years, ten years ago. The truth of the matter is that You are in my heart to stay. I am not going back to holding that cold, sickly, dismal hand of Satan that I once held. He may tempt me from a distance, but Lord, be my strength and force to knock him back into the corner where he belongs. Your power supersedes his by plenty, and being as competitive as I am, I want to win. The battle has already been won through You!
It’s grace, Lord. Grace undeserved. Grace overwhelming. Grace in full. That word holds omnipotent power. I remember asking my teacher at MidAmerica Nazarene University what grace was back when I was becoming certified to be a teacher. I had heard the word before but never really understood it. She answered me with a smile, and I probably smiled back, but in the end I never truly knew what grace was until 2012. That summer You shed the most amazing grace on me, forgiving me for all my stupidity in the past and creating in me a new being. This new being was born in full on February 9, 2013 when my pastor baptized me, saving me from everything wrong I had done.
Grace is almost something that cannot be explained. You have to experience it. Live it. Feel it. My brother once tried to explain to me what life at West Point was like when he was a plebe there. After talking with me for a good half hour, he conceded that I would never fully know unless I experienced it myself. Grace is much the same. Unless you feel that slate being wiped clean inside you, every blemish being wiped clean by Your blood on the cross, you’ll never really know. Now I know, Lord, and I cannot thank You enough.
This day is so much more than a silly Easter egg hunt this afternoon. Easter egg hunts, chocolate-filled baskets, enjoyable family time, and fellowship is fun to share; however, this is all done in Your name. We are celebrating more than that today. Today we celebrate the biggest miracle ever seen on this earth. Today we celebrate Your resurrection. Our world is saved through You. You died and rose for all, and I want to shout that out to the world for all to know! Lord, grant me the strength, wisdom, and timing to do so from now until the end of my earthly life. What a glorious day that will be to know I get to see You in person! Save a place for me, Lord. I’ll be there soon enough when my work on earth is done.