Updated: May 14, 2020
"For this is how much God loved the world—He gave His one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in Him will never perish but experience everlasting life. “God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it! So now there is no longer any condemnation for those who believe in Him." ~ John 3:16-18a (TPT)
As the sun rose this Resurrection Sunday, whether country church or cathedral, you could have would have heard a pin drop... not in reverent silence this year, but because they were each and every one... empty.
Last week, a friend sent a lovely little meme that declared,
Churches might be empty on Easter, But so is the grave.
And, I smiled.
It reminds me a bit of that Dr. Seuss line about Christmas:
"It came without ribbons.
It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags... What if Christmas,
he thought, doesn't come from a store?
What if Christmas, perhaps,
means a little bit more."
Why thank you, Theodor Geisel! ... on behalf of Christmas, and this year, on behalf of Easter.
Because, even when empty pews and houses of worship echo in silence...
EASTER DOES INDEED MEAN SO MUCH MORE!!! Think...
Think and consider the ways Jesus and His Love and His Light showed up in your home yesterday.
After He rose that resurrection Sunday, He showed up in a home, a home filled by those who loved Him and sought Him. He showed up in a home whose doors were locked to the outside world because of fear.
"It was the first day of the week, and that very evening, while the disciples were together with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them. 'Peace be with you!' He said to them." ~ John 20:19 (BSB)
As is the case in our hearts and homes and lives, He wants to come in... always, everyday. He wants to come in and give us peace.
He's there waiting, and we get to choose to allow Him in, invite Him in.
This year was a Resurrection Sunday celebration to be remembered, no doubt, but what if in using all things for the good, He leveraged this moment when families are spending more time together than they generally do, when more Bibles have been ordered than have been in years, when people are reaching for HOPE... to give them just that?
What if this is a moment when leagues of people find the Peace that passes all understanding?
Amidst and after great crises, history shows, His children reach for Him.
Messages of hope are spreading.
One Facebook post asked that when people look and see empty streets, empty stadiums, empty churches, rather than see the sky as falling, to consider the reality that this is the greatest gesture of global solidarity we may ever witness in our lifetimes. They asked, rather than seeing hopelessness, see love... love for our neighbor and fellow man at a level seldom seen throughout history.
I don't know if you saw it, but during the last song of Andrea Bocelli's brief but beautiful concert from the Duomo in Milan, we were shown the empty streets of several European cities. (I've included the link at the very bottom of the page.) Love, friends. It's love.
Can you think of another moment in time that included an unprecedented gesture of love?
Another friend posted in defiance of a reporter's declaration that for the first time in the history of our nation, there would be no Easter. She shared, though we may not be buying new clothes or hiding eggs, we celebrate the Risen Savior, not just Easter Sunday, but every Sunday, every time we gather in His name, or declare our hearts for Him. "Easter is not only about His resurrection," she reminded us, "but our ability to rise with Him. Easter is about the hope of tomorrow and the gift of everlasting life. Yes indeed, we will celebrate... By remembering Him. By loving Him. By worshiping Him. By praising Him."
And yet another friend sent a text with a message by Max Lucado, a message about the stillness and silence of Saturday nestled between Friday and Sunday. I received a beautiful email, reminding us that the very first Easter was not about songs of praise and large groups gathered in worship. It was a moment of despair turned to hope, to wonder, and wondering if what they knew to have happened was even possible. It was a quiet, poignant, earth shattering, life changing celebration.
A text rang through declaring, "Easter CANNOT be cancelled... and HOPE CANNOT be quarantined!"
Countless people tuned into hours of messages of the love of the Savior on a major network Sunday morning... Something that was facilitated, and dare I say allowed, because of the quarantine.
How many people heard a message of Hope and Light and Love that would not have otherwise?
He offers us His Peace, it's there for the taking, the embracing, the spreading. We must simply receive... and then, go forth! However we may, however we're called.
As we all walk this uncertain path, together and apart, in a time when worry and fear threaten so many areas of our lives. May we each remember where that fear comes from.
THEN, may we each remember to look up. To seek His face, and when He comes to the door of our heart and knocks both once and for all and day by day, may we invite Him in and allow the Sonrise to light our lives, to fill us to overflow, that we may in turn be a glimpse for others of His Love and Light in the world.
He is here. He is present. He is alive.
He is risen indeed.
"Jesus said unto her, 'I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live...'" ~ John 11:25-26 (KJV)
"But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, even though it was extremely large. When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. But He said to them, 'Do not be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here! See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.'" ~ Mark 16:4-7 (BSB)
"If the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from death, lives in you, then He who raised Christ from death will also give life to your mortal bodies by the presence of His Spirit in you." ~ Romans 8:11 (GNT)
"But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God." ~ John 1:12 (NLT)
"I want to know Christ - yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead." ~ Philippians 3:10-11 (NIV)
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.
Bonus song of praise... ♥
And... as promised, Andrea Bocelli: Music for Hope, from the Duomo in Milan.