Celebrating Easter – Today’s Reality

A couple days ago I blogged about the Easter Sunday services I remember so fondly from childhood – the exuberant celebrations I have not experienced for decades and yet earnestly long for.

Today’s Easter Reality, on this Sunday, April 1st, is a far cry from what I long for. Outside, sun glistens blindingly bright on the snow and the temperature is a mere 28 degrees Fahrenheit. Pretty chilly for a day set apart for Easter Egg Hunts in the grass!

Indoors, I have chills too. And a cough. Sinus headache. Pain. Stiffness. And a fever – I’m on my third day of running a fever.


In spite of my symptoms, I actually feel better this afternoon than I did last night. But I’m sofa bound. I was so excited about feeling better this morning that I actually made my bed, throw pillows and all.  Now, rather than mess it up by taking a much needed nap, I’m stretched out on our living room sectional, bundled under a vintage camp blanket, trying to ward of the chills.

As you know, when you’re sick, you have a lot of time on your hands. And I lay here thinking about how (in my mind) Easter Sunday is supposed to be, compared to what is.

So I grabbed my iPad and a pair of ear buds and went on a YouTube search. Surely somewhere there must be a recording of “Christ The Lord is Risen Today,” with full-on organ and trumpets! Admittedly, it wouldn’t be the same as standing in church, looking up at my mother as she joyfully sang that glorious hymn.  But still, I did find a version that brought tears to my eyes!

I wish I could share it with you, but I’m not that tech savvy yet. You can hopefully find it by doing a search of the hymn title, plus Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.

I pray your Easter Sunday is greatly blessed. For, regardless of our present circumstances, because of Jesus Christ, we have much to celebrate!

 

 

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Celebrating Easter

I SO miss the celebration of Easter I knew growing up. Easter was a big deal! We talked about it, planned for it, weeks in advance, all while observing Wednesday Lenten services leading up to the Big Day.

Though we had little money to spare, Mom sewed new dresses for us girls. (Never paid attention to what my four brothers wore.) It was a “given,” everyone wore their best to church on Easter Sunday. I don’t ever recall it being a fashion show, but more a way of honoring God. It was HIS Day!

Easter Sunday started early with a Sunrise Service (followed by a Pancake Breakfast in the church basement). At the time, I had no idea what a feat it must have been for Mom to get all us kids up, dressed, and out the door at such an early hour!

The church was fragrant with lilies. Other colorful floral displays filled the altar. We had a good view from the balcony, where our family usually filled a whole row. Or two, depending on where we got seats.

My favorite part of the service was the special only-on-Easter-Sunday trumpets. I could hardly wait to hear them!

Finally…

The congregation stood up, the organ gave a powerful rumbling prelude, and then, with a mighty blast of triumph, those golden instruments led us in announcing His victory… “CHRIST THE LORD IS RISEN TODAY…ALLELUIA…”

We sang our hearts out!

 

An Easter Message

 

            
     Why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection?

 

 
     The Gospel of John (20:7) tells us that the napkin, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes.

     The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded, and was placed at the head of that stony coffin.

      Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.

     She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus
loved. She said, ‘They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and I don’t know where they have put him!’

      Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see. The other disciple outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in
and saw the linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in.

      Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying to the side.

Was that important? Absolutely!

Is it really significant? Yes!

     In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition.

     When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it.

     The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not dare touch that table, until the master was finished.

      Now if the master were done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table.

     The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, ‘I’m done’.

      But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because……….

The folded napkin meant, ‘I’m coming back!’

 

 

 

 

REJOICE!

 

I’m traveling this weekend but just had to squeeze in this moment to wish you a very blessed and Happy Easter!

 

Because of Jesus, every person on this planet has been given an invitation by God the Father, to spend eternity with Him.  What a gift!  Thank you, Lord.  Thank you, Jesus.  You are worthy of all praise!

 

HE IS RISEN!

 

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It’s Your Call – A Follow-Up

 

 

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

“Was it a once and for all watershed moment, w/ occasional tests to your resolve, or has it been a gradual healing?” 

 

I think DM’s  questions in his comment to my previous post deserve a follow-up.   I’ll try to do that without starting to rant… 

 

 First of all, DM, my answer is Yes. 

 

Yes, it was a watershed moment. 

 

Yes, with occasional tests to my resolve. 

 

And, Yes, it has been a gradual healing. 

 

It really was a “Eureka!” moment when I realized I could go either way in my outlook about my childhood.  I just decided it was more fun, and more pleasant – and more healing – to choose to enjoy those years in my memory.  I did not want to keep carrying the baggage.

 

It was a growing thing, though, too, to realize that getting free of bitterness requires forgiveness.  It has taken years to learn how – and why – to forgive.  On issues where it seemed impossible to forgive, I learned two sobering lessons:

 

            1.)  The greater the depth of one’s understanding of one’s own need to be forgiven, the easier it is to forgive others. 

 

When we’re stuck with unforgiveness, we only need ask God to show the depths of our own sinfulness.  Then, be prepared, because He can go deep!  It can be very scary.  And humbling.  Devastating, actually,  But, trust Him, it’ll make it easy to forgive others. 

 

           2.)  Unforgiveness isn’t just about what we think of our enemy.  It is a statement about what we think of Jesus.  When we will not forgive, we are  telling Jesus that what He went through…His sacrifice, His excruciating suffering and death…were not enough.  We are telling Him that, in our book, He comes up short.  We are telling both the Father and Jesus that His blood wasn’t adequate to remove our enemy’s sin.

 

It must not be adequate to remove our’s, then, either. 

 

There is also one more, “Yes,” DM, to a question which you didn’t ask…

 

Yes, it is an ongoing challenge. 

 

Stuff still happens.  I must continue to decide to reject bitterness and unforgiveness.  

 

And I must decide to trust God.    Daniel understood this: 

 

“And when Daniel was lifted from the (lion’s) den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.”  Daniel 6:23 NIV

 

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