Sunday, April 24, 2011

Come and See!

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!
Luke 24:5b,6a

The Easter morning weather was anything but cheerful. Freshly-manicured toes in beautiful new sandals dodged puddles throughout the parking lot. People scurried toward the door; attempting to protect their flowing floral dresses, khaki pants and pastel-colored ties from the pouring rain. In spite of their cheerful attire, it didn't look (or feel) like Easter. That is, until the doors were opened ...

Once inside the church walls, the smell of Easter Lilies permeates the air. The chapel's cross (which had been covered with a black shroud just two days earlier) is completely covered in flowers. Brilliant white banners with gold lettering read, "He Is Risen, Indeed!" While the world outside seemed to confirm spring going missing (again) in the Pacific Northwest, a joyous celebration of NEW LIFE and HOPE had been found-- not only in my little church, but in churches around the world!

As we snacked on fruit and muffins in the fellowship hall, tales of the journey to church were shared among my fellow moms. With the craziness of preparation behind us, we were able to laugh at the trials of getting to our little "Easter Greenhouse." We had improvised on the spot because of tights with holes, dress shirts that suddenly did not fit and missing shoes. Keeping children focused on leaving the house in a timely manner is always a struggle, but the allure of baskets brimming with sugary goodness adds a whole new dimension of frustration! There had been encounters with red lights, the quest for a parking spot and children who had snuck into the family car with jelly on their faces. And yet, we all agreed, it had been worth the daunting trip! No matter how inviting our warm beds had been on a dreary, soggy morning, No matter how many arguments had occurred in the backseat on the drive to church, no matter what personal battles we had waged throughout the week, we knew that the Hope of the Resurrection would be proclaimed within these walls. We feel comfort here. We come, knowing the final chapters of the Easter story. On that first Easter Morning, however, there were far more trials and far less certainty ...

Two women headed to the tomb that first Easter morning, while it was yet dark, to prepare Jesus' body with burial spices. They were not coming to a pretty church with lilies, fresh fruit and muffins, they were going to a heavily guarded grave, in the dark, to prepare the body of their beloved friend. They were not merely frustrated by traffic, they were wrought with grief. They did not know how they would get the tomb opened, nor did they have a guarantee that they would not be arrested for being a follower of Jesus. There was a great earthquake. They saw a bright-white angel who gave them wonderful, yet puzzling news. If anyone had the right to stay away, these ladies were in the clear! But they did not. They took this news to Jesus' disciples, just as the angel had told them to. Though they had experienced a rather frightening morning, they were also overjoyed by the news of Jesus' resurrection!

There are times when following Jesus can bring us to dark, frightening, unfamiliar places. The question is, will we have the faith of these women, that we might "come and see" what God has planned, or will we hide away, as the disciples did?

Jesus, as we celebrate Your Resurrection today, may we remember that the God we serve is the Victor over sin and death! As you bring us to new, sometimes frightening places, give us the strength we need to face your will in our lives!

Thank you, my Risen Savior, for all that you taught me on this 40 day journey with You. As a new season begins, I know that more lessons will follow. Help me to remember that moments of quiet with You aren't just for Lent; for what Your Word can teach us can not be confined to one lifetime, let alone one season! Bless my readers, LORD, that they might enjoy their own journey with You.

Rejoicing in His Resurrection,

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