Last week's Word Wednesday ended with the sorrow of our Savior hanging on the cross.
As He breathed His last breath, the disciples were mourning and wondering what would happen now. Jesus was "gone"; what were they to do?
Little did they know!
We who know "the rest of the story" may mourn the loss of our Savior; and cry thinking about "The Old Rugged Cross" on which He died; but we do have the knowledge of what would come.
I do cry every time I hear that song! It was my father's favorite; and it always makes me cry (even now as I searched for just the right version). But, it is also thinking about our Savior hanging there on the cross that tears me up; and knowing that he did it willingly...
For Us! For You and Me!!
Though not worthy of it, He died a horrid death for all of us!
The disciples may not have known what was coming next; but, we know it isn't finished! There is so much more ahead for all of us. It is just beginning...
I read the following story in the Upper room devotions for Saturday, March 26th:
"When our daughter...was an adolescent, she drew a cartoon of Jesus sitting in the tomb before the large stone had been removed. He was looking at a wristwatch and thinking, 'Any minute now...' The caption read, 'Saturday.'
"Although that seems like a much too innocent view of the crucified Christ, it described the anticipation we feel just before Easter. We who know the rest of the story can look forward to the joy and celebration of the Resurrection..."
And that is just what we do as we rush around preparing for the special events of Easter Sunday morning. We look forward to the joy and celebration of Easter Sunday Morning.
We make sure we have beautiful new clothes and shoes; and baskets full of goodies for all of the children.
Many communities have Easter Egg Hunts on Saturday. Even the White House has a traditional Easter Egg Roll with thousands of people attending.
Families plan big meals to share after Church, gathering in homes to celebrate the joy of Easter Day.
But, the celebration of Easter Sunday began with a discovery at the tomb:
"After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it." (Matthew 28:1-2 NRSV).
Imagine how frightened the two Marys must have been! The did not know what was happening, or what they would find in the tomb.
"But the angel said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come see the place where he lay.' (Matthew 28:5-6 NRSV).
What a joyous discovery! They were instructed to go and tell the disciples...we are instructed to go and tell the wonderful news that:
He is not here!
He has risen!
And that is what we celebrate on Easter Sunday!
Our church had a beautiful sunrise service, followed by breakfast, Sunday School, and then another service.
Everything was beautiful: the flowers, the music, the words shared by our minister, and the smiles and excitement on everybody's faces. We even had the baptism of two of our youth!
What joy that followed the sorrow felt at the foot of the cross!
What joy that followed the sorrow felt at the empty tomb!
And what joy we all have knowing that the Ultimate Joy is still to come...
When He comes again to bring his Disciples home with Him...
Our pastor ended the service on Sunday with these words: "Let everything you plan start with the fact that "He Lives", not only on Easter Sunday, but every day!"
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YES! "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow...because I know He holds the future!"
Allelujah! Thank you God for your Son who died for us on that cross so many years ago. Amen!