Before I forget, let me begin this update by wishing all of you a very Happy Easter!
We had a wonderful day this Resurrection Sunday... but it really began with a powerful Good Friday service... which was actually an extension off of what we talked about on Palm Sunday last week... which actually built off of the Passover Seder that we’d eaten the night before... (see, there is a method to the madness after all).
Discussing the Passover and the depth of tradition and historical context that it gives us about God’s sovereignty, even during the Hebrews’ bondage in Egypt helped us on Palm Sunday to see how Christ could preach that persecution and suffering were not only endurable, but could actually result in joy (and even happiness), when we realize how God is working in and through us.
And then, our Good Friday service gave us a clear and hard picture of the worst, most painful way that suffering can work its way out in the real world, as we looked at the reality of the crucifixion, and laid our own sins and burdens at the feet of the cross.
And all of that provided the context for understanding how and why we can celebrate the empty tomb that the women and disciples found on that firstSunday after the crucifixion. It’s more than just that Jesus is alive--though He certainly is--but that He fully understood the pain that He was going to endure, fully understood the depth of suffering and the weight of sin that He was calling down upon Himself, fully understood the flow of events, and that everyone would abandon Him in the end... and chose to do it all anyway... and yet, was not crushed underneath that burden that would have totally destroyed you and me.
In fact, not only was He not crushed, but He used that opportunity to forgive those who killed Him, and save those who had turned from Him. We can--and should--celebrate together as a community, as the family of God, that we have been bought and paid for by the sacrifice of Christ, and that we have been adopted through His blood into His family, as His beloved children.
So this Easter, we ate a wonderful breakfast together as a church family as an act of worship. And then we met together in the service to sing and to pray together as a church family as an act of worship. And then we opened the Word of God together and walked through the history of what happened on that first Easter Sunday morning together as a church family as an act of worship. And even then, it did my heart good to see people stay after for more than another hour after the service was over to share their lives with one another and do community together as a church family as an act of worship.
What a joy it is to celebrate and serve the living God! He is risen!