I don’t know about you, but for me, Good Friday is such a pivotal day. As Christ followers, this is the day we draw ever near in remembrance of the darkest moment in our Savior’s life by reflecting upon His death. Yes, Sunday is coming–praise the Lord! But Sunday didn’t come before Friday and Friday must hold a paramount place in our life if we strive to grow with Him and really acknowledge the full weight of what He did for us. He came and humbled himself, taking on the form of a man, yet He was God. There’s never been another and never will there be again. One man–one God–who lived, died and rose again for the sake of the world! He suffered and died for sins that were not His and what can we give Him in return? Only ourselves. In complete surrender. Not just the little convenient parts that we’re willing to let go of–but every piece of us. 100%, full on, have it Your way Lord, surrender. We all fall short of the glory of God, but when we believe in Him as The Way, The Truth and The Life, this day reminds us that if our sins were buried with Him, we are to also live in the newness of life. For me, it’s incredibly convicting as I don’t want to nail Him to that cross time and again by living in contradiction to what He has said. And He has said much. I am forever indebted as His servant and I want to grow deeper as He continues the work of sanctification in my life. There is no greater honor than to love, know and live for the King of Kings. Thank you, Lord, that the curtain was torn in two!
So, here’s the deal. I’ve loved celebrating Easter for as long as I can remember and it’s always been my absolute favorite holiday. Truly!!! I loved driving into the city and picking out a new Easter dress every year–(the only time I ever recall enjoying my mom taking us shopping and to the mall). I loved dying those hard-boiled eggs, putting those little plastic wrappers on them and even getting to paint them. I loved knowing my parents picked out a new porcelain rabbit for my little collection from the drug store and the eagerness of finding out what the newest little bunny to join the club would look like. I loved my baby blue Easter basket that was hand sewn with my name and appeared ready for the mad dash in the yard like clockwork every year. More than any of this, I absolutely loved getting up and going to church more than any other Sunday during the year–and it wasn’t because of my new dress. Even when I was young, God was placing that special root of anticipation in my heart that continues to this day. Though I couldn’t exactly pin point my excitement back then, I get it now. I get so excited about celebrating Resurrection Sunday with the body of believers who also believe in the most miraculous event in history because it is just that–the most miraculous even in history! There’s nothing quite like a sunrise service on Easter morning. Shouting “He is risen, indeed”, singing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today“, seeing the lilies in full bloom and coming home to hunt eggs in the yard while the ham is releasing tasty aromas in the kitchen. You have to love it!
This year will be different from all the others, though. Yesterday I was put on complete bed rest and told I could only get up to take a shower. What?! Naturally, the first thing I asked when the doctor gave me his orders was if I could still go to church (surely full bed rest didn’t mean “all the time”). He said “I’m all for church, but no. You really can’t get up and go anywhere from here on. This is for the sake of you and the baby.” Of course, my immediate intention was to completely ignore the man. I mean, he must be crazy! Even people who don’t go to church go on Easter! But, after speaking with my parents (both physicians), they said I needed to listen to him because he was right. And, while the sweet nurse at his office said I could watch it online, we all know that is no substitute for fellowship. This is the first in my 29 years thus far where I’m missing not only a Good Friday service, but Easter Sunday service, too. I literally can’t explain how devastated I am. I am so grateful I was at least able to go watch “The Passion of the Christ” at church last Sunday evening. A newer tradition since that movie wasn’t around when I was growing up, but one I’ve done for several years. So grateful I was at least able to worship in that way and take communion.
I know people who aren’t Christ followers won’t “get it” (and that’s okay!). But for those who are, I know you understand where I’m coming from. Yes, Jesus Christ is the risen Lord every day and yes, I actively attend worship services weekly with thanksgiving that we have such a freedom. But it’s the special unity of the body, the excitement of knowing so many are there listening to the Truth who never come and may come to know Him that Sunday. It’s a uniquely beautiful time like none other and one of unspeakable joy. I look forward to Easter all year, but this experience is especially eye-opening. Having to come off the season of Lent and delving deep into Holy Week all to celebrate the empty tomb, and now not being able to celebrate that with fellow believers–this is a year I’ll never forget. I just want everyone to know that if you’re able, please go and worship somewhere this weekend. It’s such an awesome privilege we have and when you can’t go and want to go, it makes you wonder all the more why people who can go choose not to go.
Next year, Lord willing, I’ll get to take a little boy shopping for his first Easter suit! In the meantime, it’s my job for the next few days to try to keep us both as well as possible because it seems very likely he will come a couple of weeks earlier than planned. So, if you are a believer, please be in prayer for both of us–for our health and safety the next few days and during the delivery process. This is all very unexpected, but it was not unknown. God is in control and had this is in the plan, but do intercede for us during this time. Thank you! I’ll know far more on Monday. I’ve been to the doctor three times in the last 24-hours with lots of monitoring and tests taking place. Hopefully there will be no extra twists to this adventure taking me to the hospital over the weekend, and by Monday afternoon I’ll know better if our little boy will be arriving next week or if we have a major turn of events and get to wait for him to come in a less eventful way (that sure sounds better!).
I know this post is a bit all over the map. But really, what it comes down to is this: I’m here, stuck in bed and so grateful to God for what He has done. It is finished!!! I’m trying not to wallow in the fact that I have to miss services tonight and the celebration on Sunday. In doing so, I’ve been thinking so much about all the people who’ve never gone to church, who’ve never heard the Word of God, those who can’t go to church and then all the people who choose not to go to church. We live in a country where we have the freedom to go and worship publicly! This, my friends, is a MAJOR gift not to be taken lightly. We can stand together in one place at one time and do as Christ asked and while doing this, be a bold, bright light for Him. There are people all over the world who die because they accept Christ as their Savior and refuse to deny Him when pressed. There are people who must celebrate and read the Bible in dark, private places because it’s illegal to do so anywhere else. And here we are, in a country where we have the absolute privilege of going and growing with the Body of Christ and people choose not to. I really don’t get it. So even though you probably don’t know me, I ask that if you never go, you would just go for me this weekend. Obviously, I want you to first and foremost go for God. But if that’s not where you’re at yet, then would you just go for me and see if you aren’t blessed?!
HE IS RISEN, INDEED!