Despite the darkness of our times, all around the world this Easter morning HOPE is being celebrated in a multitude of languages with expressions such as these: “He is Risen! He is Risen indeed!”
As death tolls mount because of an invisible enemy called, COVID-19, a verse written by the Apostle Paul in uncertain times has helped keep me steady:
“Though outwardly we are wasting away,
yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day . . . .
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen,
since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
II Corinthians 4:16b, 18
Yet, even as I have found comfort and encouragement in the Scriptures, I have to admit that I have struggled at the thought of not being able to observe the traditions we normally enjoy with our church family and friends. Has that been an issue for any of you?
One thought that helped me tremendously was something I read online early in the week:
“The church isn’t empty;
the church has been deployed!”
Having gone through many seasons when my husband was unexpectedly deployed while serving in the US military for twenty years, I was familiar with the term in a mostly negative way. However, my appreciation for the term widened when I looked it up in Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary where it says:
Deployed–“to spread out, utilize, or arrange for a deliberate purpose.”
It was that last bit, saying that deployment happens, “for a deliberate purpose“, that settled me with a blanket of HOPE.
In that moment it dawned on me that Jesus was deployed for a deliberate purpose: to make a way for our redemption and fill us through His Spirit with hope.
Now, two thousand years later, His Church (you and me!) has been deployed to reach out to a hurting world with the HOPE of the Gospel.
Reading further in Corinthians Paul wrote:
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced
that One died for all, and therefore all died.
And He died for all, that those who live
should no longer live for themselves
but for Him who died for them and was raised again.”
II Corinthians 4:14-15
One of the things I look forward to every Easter morning, is walking into my church and seeing the Cross–last seen draped in black on Good Friday–festooned with the fragrant beauty of fresh flowers that declare: Jesus is alive and is coming again!
This year was different. As my husband and I worshiped with our church family online, there was no Cross draped in flowers. Yet God’s Spirit ministered to our hearts powerfully through song and the reading of the Scriptures. One of the songs we sang speaks to the heart of why Christ’s own celebrate His faithfulness on this glorious day:
In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone! – who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied –
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand:
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.*
May the blessings of Christ’s Resurrection encourage you this day, as we live for, love, and serve Him with grateful hearts.
He has Risen . . . and He is coming again!
All to His Glory!
*Stuart Townend & Keith Getty, Copyright © 2001