"Why seek the living among the dead?"
We were blest by our pastor's Easter message Sunday and having children and grandchildren worshipping with us before going to help cram our son's house with relatives and relatives of relatives and eating a feast. Even though it rained and everyone remained crowded inside, people were relaxed, breaking bread and telling funny stories (Angie's cat resurrection story) with much laughter.
I've been thinking about Jesus rising from the grave and walking out to face a unit of soldiers who had been sent to guard his dead body. Were any of them ones who had been at His crucifixion? Was one of them the one who gambled for His robe? Did Jesus go and ask for it back saying, "That's mine! My mother wove it specially for me?" Nah, I don't think so either. If it had been me, maybe that's how I would have behaved besides giving them the stink-eye. I guess, after you've been dead and risen and have laid away the grave clothes, the rest is "im-material."
Plus one. It was a joy to arrive at church with one of the unchurched ones we've been witnessing to, a young teenage man. He decided he'd rather come to church with us than go with his family to San Francisco to visit relatives. That was a true privilege.
Easter is pivotal. It's like a new year's celebration only one of greater significance. It is more like teetering on the brink of sliding from B.C. to A.D. It is a celebration as all of previous history was fulfilled in His birth, His life walking in sandals brushing shoulders with the hurting, and His death and resurrection. Such is how the entire world's history became His Story.
Don't you hurt for the tender scene of the broken-hearted women--His mother included--at the cross, witnessing His torturous death? Then there was an earthquake and a covering of darkness. Next there bravely came two men who recognize that this Man was truly sent from God: Joseph of Arimathea put his life in danger by asking for His body and offering up his tomb for our Lord. Then came the soldiers who sealed and guarded the tomb. Soon after another earthquake shook the foundations of the whole earth! Still determined and undeterred came the women who were not sure everything had been done quite right in preparing His body in death, even though Nicodemus and Joseph had spent a fortune already preparing it. Then was the worry about how they could get into the tomb to do their self-ascribed task since it was guarded and sealed. Finally, their grief and task was interrupted by the surprise words of an angel, "Why seek the living among the dead?"
What do we do with these words? We don't serve a dead body. We serve a risen Saviour. Sometimes we act like nobody else gets it right the way we prepare our services just so. Yet sometimes, Jesus gets out and meets us right there in church! Did you miss Him as He walked among us? I think I recognized Him Sunday when He came and did church with us right there on "C" street! Did He visit your church too? He can't stay in a little box in the front of the sanctuary, like the ark of the covenant, or in a glass case that says, "Break glass in case of emergency." Jesus can walk through walls and enter rooms that had been locked up tightly. Did you feel His presence?
Yes, children ran through the house leaving a trail of Easter grass while collecting eggs in their baskets. Yes, we ate like piggies. Yes, our son fell asleep laying down on a short uncomfortable wooden bench in his living room while happy chaos rose and fell all around him in a house-full of thirty-plus people.(He works nights) Yes, the house would have groaned if more had tried to squeeze in. Yes, I think Jesus would have enjoyed sitting around the table with this crowd. Yes, the other half of the family celebrated across the river in their own happy gathering. And Yes, it was a happy Easter!