Greetings and salutations dear friends!
It's the least wonderful time of the year - in my opinion, anyway. Wait, that isn't the lyric! O well, for those of you that enjoy spring, I am glad for you. Really, I am! I just don't want to hear about all the excitement. For all of you that call me Scrooge around Christmas, I will give twice as many "ba humbug" replies in the days ahead. I loathe involuntary sweating, so as the temperatures rise, I will be more and more uncomfortable. Pastor Jim and I always joke around this time of year "we'll be comfortable again in November!" The pollen is a wonderful thing; honey bees are some of the world's most fascinating creatures. Every year, I am in awe when Loyd Cline teaches me about the bees, but I do not enjoy inhaling the pollen! Don't even get me started on so-called "Daylight-Saving" time. My father jokes every year that it's like 'cutting a six-inch strip off of the bottom of a blanket, sewing it across the top, and calling the blanket "longer".' I am convinced that arbitrarily leaving standard time (for longer than six months) is the biggest sham in modern society. I do not like eating supper in broad day light, the "we're saving energy" argument has been thoroughly debunked, and folks on the internet still say "Eastern Standard Time" furthering the confusion! I have a beautiful map as the background image on my computer with all the time zones across the globe, so my wrist watches and Jeep are going to remain in ours where we belong!
Now that I have begun to articulate why I dislike this time of the year, let me attempt to pique your interest and have you join me in getting excited about its - perhaps sole - redeeming characteristic: EASTER! Easter is my favorite day of the year. Easter doesn't just make spring bearable; it makes bearable life itself. Easter makes funerals bearable. Easter makes watching news reports highlighting the horrors of this broken world bearable. Easter makes strained, or even fractured, relationships bearable. Easter - literally - makes even our own sin bearable! Without Easter, our church is useless, our system of beliefs is pointless, and sin is just as powerful as the Creator Himself. Easter is not just a redeeming quality for a season of the year; it entails the very essence of the redeeming of our immortal souls! Are we getting excited yet!?!
Easter is the single day of the year that I want to wake up before the sun rises. I am glad our church holds a service in our Cemetery, and I am especially glad our Cemetery is positioned up on a hill. When we stand among graves, it gives us a greater appreciation of I Corinthians 15. Just as God the Son left his grave on Resurrection Sunday, our loved ones' graves will be made empty one day too!! On Thursday evening, the Christ instituted the symbol of His New Covenant. On Friday, I was on His mind as He paid for my sin; the wages of sin are His death. The second day was quiet, but the third was loud. Jesus, the Messiah, breathed new life again! He arose from death; He arose from the grave; He resurrected! This is a foreshadow of a resurrection that we can all look forward to if we trust in Him as Savior and Lord! God the Son condescended to become a human. He lived a life free from sin, uniquely qualifying Him to pay for my sin and yours. He bears our sin on the cross of Calvary, and gives us life eternal in its place! Whether anyone else needed this redemption or not, I do. Whether or not you needed salvation, He did it for me. My sin alone was more than enough to make Him lay down His own life. He did it for me!!! The God of the universe loves ME that much, and He loves you that much too!!!
I don't cry very often, but I nearly weep just typing these powerful truths. I am not sad, which messes with my brain, but overwhelmed with joy and gratitude. As the 'music guy', a particular portion of my job is devoted to corporate worship. In my opinion, the best way to explain biblical worship as a corporate - or personal - lifestyle is this: response to who God is and what God does. Given my last paragraph, let's respond to what the Messiah has done for us. We as a church must do this week in and week out, but let me challenge you to personally do this day in and day out! Worship is evangelism; worship is reading the bible; worship is prayer; worship is singing; worship is sitting quietly and contemplating these things and lifting our unworthy heart to the Lord and weeping in grateful joy. God is certainly worthy of our worship whether or not Easter happened, but as a singular event, nothing should make us want to worship God more than Easter does. Join me this spring by walking in the glorious hope of the resurrection, and living your life in response to these truths!
Guilty, vile, and helpless we; spotless Lamb of God was He;
full atonement! Can it be? Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Rev. Andrew J. Reynolds