Spring is my favorite time of year! The sun is shining, the days get longer and warmer, birds are singing, flowers blooming, and there is new life all around us. It is truly a glorious time of year. However – lest we forget – it is the storms and the rain that nourish this new growth. It is all that has died that feeds and makes room for new life.
Easter Sunday is by far the most glorious celebration of the Christian year. This is the day we celebrate the empty tomb. This is the day we celebrate the resurrection and new life. This is the day that all things are made new and we celebrate life eternal where there once was death. On this day churches around the world experience the greatest turn out and the highest attendance by far of any other day. Why? Because people like to celebrate life, hope, love, and joy.
However – lest we forget – you must pass through Christ’s suffering and death in order to experience the resurrection and new life! It’s the April showers that bring the Easter flowers. You can’t have one without the other.
On Thursday, April 18th we will celebrate Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday). The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin word that means “commandment”. In John 13:34 Jesus tells his disciples “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” On this day our Lord and Savior sat with his 12 closest friends and celebrated his last supper and told them of his sacrifice for them and us. During this meal he also demonstrated that to be a true leader you must first serve. He did this by washing his disciples’ feet.
On Friday, April 19th we will celebrate Good Friday. It seems strange to celebrate the torture, suffering, and death of our Lord and Savior and call that day “Good”. The reason it is “Good Friday” is because only through his sacrifice are we given life – eternal life. 1 Peter 2:24 tells us “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed”. So, we gather and say thank you to God for his sacrifice for us.
Don’t forget to also honor and celebrate Holy Saturday. This is the day we honor and keep God’s commandment by observing the Sabbath. This is what Jesus’ followers did to honor God’s commandment even though they had just lost their Lord and Savior. This demonstrates how vital it is to always follow the will of God, even in times of distress and heartache.
So, let us all celebrate Easter with our family, friends, and neighbors but don’t skip all that leads up to this glorious day. It’s the storms that make the SUN even more glorious!
Pastor Randy Tucker