Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.” The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him.
Matthew 28:1-9 NLT
On Sunday of Holy Week…everything changed. The stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty. Death had turned to new life. Mourning to dancing. Grief to rejoicing. And sin to salvation.
This is why we celebrate. It is why we care about the story at all. It is why we sing and study and pray.
Because Jesus loved us enough to die. Because Jesus loved us enough to live..in order that we might live forever.
Christ is risen! Christ risen indeed.
I don’t think it is any huge secret that I am not a fan of winter. I do not like having to think about boots and scarves and mitts. I am not a fan of salt coating my boots. I can’t stand being cold. And then there is the darkness and the flu bugs.
So you can imagine how thrilled I was this weekend as Spring made an appearance in my neck of the woods. I spent Saturday in Toronto with a friend, walking around the city. On Sunday, I had a long drive to visit some friends. And I had to turn the heat in my car way down. Both days I got out for lovely walks with Koski. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.
And it wasn’t just me. There was more traffic on the roads, more pedestrians on the streets, more smiles on faces. There is something about this time of year that is special. It is like we are all waking back up. There is new life in the air. And it is joyful.
In the letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul writes:
…their evil intentions will be exposed
when the light shines on them,
for the light makes everything visible.
This is why it is said:
Awake, O sleeper,
rise up from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.
Ephesians 5: 13,14 NLT
I love the theme of Resurrection that runs through this time of preparation for Easter. I love the way that Spring reminds me of the new life that Christ gives to his followers.
I hope that you experience the beauty of Spring and that it lifts your soul and reminds you that we serve a God of new beginnings, in whom death is only a doorway to new life.
I had reason to post on Facebook asking for a favour today, and I was overwhelmed by the response I received. I was in the midst of planning and visioning for our VBS this summer and I was thinking it would be great to have a parachute to use with the kids. So I started pricing them out – those suckers are expensive (not terribly so, but enough to make me pause and consider other possibilities before purchasing one). I decided to send out a general appeal on Facebook for one that could be borrowed for the week of VBS. Within 10hrs of posting I have received 4 offers and a link to a place where I could purchase one.
I barely even put any effort into solving this problem, and found that God was ready and willing to provide.
Sometimes I think we are too good at solving our own problems. Sometimes we don’t allow God to be God. My parachute example is a small one, but I would love to see what God could do if we, in faith, handed him some of our really big problems.
I think God loves to provide and God loves to overwhelm us. I mean, really, that is what the story of Jesus is about. That at the moment that looked like utter defeat, God was actually bringing victory. At the moment when it looked like the Jesus movement was over, it was actually just beginning. At the moment of death, new life was given the chance to burst forth. And the disciples could hardly believe it when it happened.
It can be scary to hand over our big problems to God – it may lead us where we do not want to go, it may lead us to the cross. But I believe it will also lead us beyond the cross to Easter morning and the absolutely shocking goodness and mercy of our Loving Father God.