Happy Easter! I love Easter. It’s my favorite holiday. I love Christmas (Don’t get me wrong), but when someone asks me what my favorite holiday is….my answer is Easter.
Easter, for me, doesn’t start today. It started over 40 days ago when Lent began. Then, last week on Palm Sunday I remembered how Jesus entered Jerusalem while palms were waved. This same crowd later would shout for His crucifixion. Last Thursday, we gathered at my church for a Maundy Thursday service. It was a powerful 30-minutes which had scriptures and songs taking us through the Last Supper that Jesus had with His disciples…including Judas. Yes, the one who would betray Him for a few pieces of silver was included in the final meal. On Friday, we returned for an interactive Good Friday service. Again, our pastors took us through scripture with readings and songs. Then, we closed with an interactive act of justification (nailing a paper with sin written on it to a cross), sanctification (clean water poured over our hands) and glorification (lighting a candle).
This morning, “my kids” (aka Calvary Kids) were able to help the praise team lead the Call to Worship. We ‘sang’ and (mostly) did the motions to “Glorious Day.” I’ll share the link at the bottom. Just so you know…if you sing the song while doing the motions, you can earn 2 points on your Smart Watch Exercise Ring. No joke. I earned 6 points today by doing the motions three times.
As kids were excused to go back to Calvary Kids’ Worship, I went back with them to help a visiting child make it back to the kids’ room. While there, I snapped pics of our three kids’ areas and even found myself in the nursery (NOT my place of natural service). Seems one of our little guys had to wake up a couple hours early due to the Easter schedule at church, and his little body wasn’t up to it. Alas, all my voices and sound effects and bouncing had no impact. He needed “mama” or “daddy”…and “Miss Jodi” just didn’t cut the mustard [Side Note: I used that piece of figurative language in my 4th grade class, and they didn’t get it.] Sometimes, no one but our Father will do when we’re hurting.
By the time I returned to the foyer, Pastor Mike was halfway finished with his sermon. So, I finished listening to it just a bit ago. The perk of offering our services on FB is that I can watch what I miss when I’m serving elsewhere. As he preached from I Corinthians 15, lots of parts stuck in my thoughts. One of the points I’m pondering is that the Name of Jesus has prompted more goodness and more kindness than any other. Schools have been started. Homes have been built. Children have been adopted. Why? Because as Christians, we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus to His creation. His hands and feet…were nailed to the cross. Yet, Jesus rose from the dead to make us whole again. Nothing He asks of us can match what God planned for His Son. Oh to ponder the price He paid for my salvation. At the conclusion of our service, I returned to the door to extend wishes for a good week and a Happy Easter and to offer hugs to my church family.
Since my family had our Easter gathering yesterday, I enjoyed lunch with a couple of my friends before heading home and changing into exercise clothes. I headed out on a chilly afternoon for a 2-mile walk. As I walked, thoughts of the One I worship and whose resurrection prompts this holiday filled my thoughts.
When I stopped by the river, I imagined it not as the Ohio River but the Sea of Galilee and the One who is the Living Water on a boat speaking to His followers. As I looked at the trees with leaves that were beginning to pop out on their branches, I was reminded of the new life we have in Christ. When I walked past the home of a family who attends church with me, I thought of their three daughters as well as the nieces and nephews who joined them today at Calvary. The verses about children popped into my head as I thanked Him for gifting me in the area of working with kids. With a half mile remaining, I started a VERY SLOW jog home. Then, the verse about running the race started going through my head. Oh how thankful I am to have some verses hidden in my heart so that I can pull them out when needed.
As I finished my walk and sat down, I decided a few things. I decided not to “work” today. I’m not doing laundry even though I have a couple loads I could do. I’m not washing any dishes even though I have a few I could finish. I could grade some papers, but they’ll still be there in the morning. I’ve decided to just relax and enjoy this day. My felines will be happy as one of them has already napped on me. Why? This is the day the Lord has made, and I will rejoice and enjoy each moment.
Oh! I almost forgot. My first prompt to write a blog this weekend came on Friday as I listened to the passages being read at the Good Friday service. You see…I’m KNOWN for my love of purple. In fact, my former students remember two things…always. They remember I make “voices” when I read/teach and they remember my favorite color is purple. My favorite color at one time was red. At a different time in my life, it was pink. But….during my freshman year in college – the fall of 1988 – purple was planted into my heart and head. It imploded thereafter. Why? Our Comp 101 class had us writing a paper about our family’s holiday traditions. I wrote about Christmas and how at the time we had a white teddy bear on the top of our tree (because I loved teddy bears), and I shared that when I had a tree…it would have either a star or angel on top. Anyway, my friend Kelly decided to write about her family’s holiday traditions. Now, her family considered themselves Catholic, but they rarely went to church. So, she decided to write about my family’s Easter traditions. As she sat in my room, I talked to her about a lot of the things I wrote in this blog. I took her from Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday to Good Friday to Easter Sunday. As I shared my family’s traditions, I read her the passages in John. When I reached John 19, I read about the purple robe placed on Jesus to mock Him. Yet, to me…it wasn’t a symbol of mocking but a sign of Who He is. A sign that He is the Prince of Peace and King of Kings. You see, my favorite color may seem like it’s “just purple”, but it’s not. Purple reminds me of the One who gives me purpose and peace. The One who saves me and forgives me. The One who loves me and reminds me that I matter to Him. I mattered to Him enough to die on a cross. You matter too. So, the next time you see the color purple…remember. He loves you. He died for you. But…Sunday came and He came out of that tomb. And…one day…He’ll be back again.