Easter is the season that fills me with the greatest joy. I especially look forward to celebrating Maundy Thursday and Good Friday at my church, as they build toward the drama of Sunday finally coming. Both services focus on the events recorded in the Bible that led up to Christ’s arrest, trial and crucifixion. I appreciate the way they help to deepen our appreciation for Christ’s sacrifice as we listen to the reading of Scripture shared by multiple people within the Congregation. Positioned in the center of the darkened Sanctuary, the plain rough-hewn Cross bathed in candlelight, adds to the richness of the music in the sepia-colored space.
What I love most though, is the thrill of walking through the Sanctuary doors on Sunday morning. The transformation of the Sanctuary from the darkened, candlelit drama experienced earlier in the week, to celebrating the light and hope of Christ’s Resurrection nearly takes my breath away. Best of all, it is the gathering together of God’s People to see the the Cross transformed–having been artfully decorated with an abundance of fresh flowers and greenery–that most stirs my heart as it proclaims Christ’s victory over sin and death . . . Alleluia!
As I reflect on the stark contrast between light and darkness–hope verses despair–I am struck by the thought that if we simply go by the news, light appears to be dimming as hatred appears too often to be the central theme in the world around us. Indeed, there is so very much to mourn in this broken world. Yet because we know that God remains both Sovereign and Good, we can be filled with anticipation and HOPE, as we celebrate Christ’s Resurrection from death to life and the absolute certainty that He is coming again:
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid,
for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
He is not here; He has risen, just as He said.
Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples:
‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.
There you will see Him’ . . . .”
Matthew 28: 6-7
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying:
“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man,
and He will dwell with them.
They will be His people,
and God Himself will be with them as their God.
‘He will wipe away every tear from their eyes,’
and there will be no more death
or mourning or crying or pain,
for the former things have passed away.”
Always and only to His Glory!
Thank you Kathie–He has risen indeed!!
Yes indeed, Beth–praising Him always!