Tag Archives: Easter

Resurrection Day

6 am service.  Darkness.  Stillness.  Anticipation.  Meditating on the stained glass.  Chanting in candlelight.  A renewed love for the ancient traditions of the church.  The Israelites passing through the sea.  Ezekiel’s words of God’s gift of a new heart and a new spirit.  Tears of joy.  Baptism of Levi.  Surrounded by small group friends and the grunts of the newest baby.

Candles lit!  Lights on!  Loud voices!  Alleluia – Christ is risen! Laughter!  Smiles!  I again resist doing paddle turns in the aisle.

Hallelujah chorus.  The old version of Jesus Christ is Risen Today, and not my familiar Wesleyan hymn Christ the Lord is Risen Today.  It’s okay – YouTube will play it in the car.

Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Foll’wing our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Breakfast biscuits (because we’re home from church by 8:30).  Potluck dishes start to arrive.  A nap, dreaming of missing the feast.

Preparations.  Tablecloths and napkins and china.  Ham and macaroni and carrots.  A Coke for caffeine.  Dancing to He’s Alive in front of my couch.

Friends arrive.  More friends arrive.  More friends arrive.  Greg and I busy in the kitchen with a living room full of joyful people.  We pray like a family.

Grab a plate!  We’re missing one.  Who came unannounced?  We’re glad you’re here – we’ll squeeze in one more.

Talk of ocelots.  Mountain lions. Taxes (nixed).  Homecoming mums.  Ten/Nine/Eleven Commandments.  Alfred E. Neutrino.  Making plasma with grapes.  A list of dubious facts grows as grad students feast.  All 14 stay for Fishbowl.  8 stay for Nertz.  They disperse.

Comfy clothes, lemonade-ice tea, Father Elijah, and a spot in the gazebo by my husband.  Peace.

Ham leftovers.  Hungrily racing to the finish of Father Elijah.  Reluctantly stopping to go to bed for an early morning.

An hour of near-silent worship of my wonderful God, who holds the whole world in His hands.

Thanks be to God.  Alleluia!  Alleluia!

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Hallelujah!

CHRIST IS RISEN!!!!!!

Did you spend time remembering His suffering? Meditating on His death?
Do you now feel the joy of His life in every fiber of your being?
I sure do!

For your enjoyment, worship, and celebration, here are the three songs that are on repeat in my head through all of Easter:


My mom has used this song in her recital twice, and it always generates incredible stories. So powerful!

 

 


I love the simple call of this song: “Christ is risen from the dead – now you can come awake!!!”

 

 


And finally, what is Easter without this good old Wesleyan hymn?
(Answer: just as complete as it ever was, but I sure do love this song.)

Happy Easter! He is Risen!!

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Research on Good Friday

When your research requires blood, you become very grateful for any blood that doesn’t come from you.

A few weeks ago I got a large number of samples from a local hospital, and as I was testing them, I started praying for them. Their precious tubes of blood, though they have no identifiers, can tell me so much about them. I know if they’re tired and weak from a low hemoglobin level; I know if they’re fighting a horrible infection by the large buffy coat. So I pray for their healing.

When my friends in my lab volunteer, I am even more thankful! I watch their faces as the needle breaks through their skin, and I know the suffering they experience so that I can conduct my experiments.

So today, on Good Friday, it seemed appropriate that I spent most of my day testing blood samples. As grateful as I am for the tiny drops of blood for my experiments, I owe my life to the Donor who gave all His blood for me.

Thank you, Jesus.

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The Only Way to Life is Death

Last night as I was preparing to host an Easter lunch for various grad students who don’t have family in town, I got really excited about Sunday. I couldn’t help but get caught up in the joy of the songs I was picking out – JESUS is ALIVE!!!

But today isn’t Easter. Today is Maundy Thursday, the night my Lord was betrayed.

Today I am so grateful for this bit of liturgy that almost every church celebrates, Baptists to Catholics. We all recognize that the only way to the celebration of Easter is through the death and pain of the cross.

The celebration that JESUS is ALIVE is only a celebration because, for three days, Jesus was dead.

We cannot rejoice at our salvation without recognizing the death we were saved from.

So, tonight, we remember. We remember Christ’s final commands to His disciples. We remember the meal He gave them. We strip the altar in remembrance of the life being stripped from Jesus. Tomorrow, we sing a requiem, as for three brief days Nietzsche is right: “God is dead.”
As I watch my Lord hand Himself over, suffer ex-cruc-iating pain, and surrender His life, I feel the immense weight of what He did for me. I see Him experience what I deserve.

Without these rememberances, Resurrection Sunday is just another day.

I invite you to spend these next few days drinking in the weight of what happened two thousand years ago.
See you on Sunday.

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He is Risen

Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Lo! the Sun’s eclipse is over, Alleluia!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Alleluia!

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Alleluia!
Christ hath burst the gates of hell, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Hail, the Lord of earth and Heaven, Alleluia!
Praise to Thee by both be given, Alleluia!
Thee we greet triumphant now, Alleluia!
Hail, the resurrection, thou, Alleluia!

King of glory, Soul of bliss, Alleluia!
Everlasting life is this, Alleluia!
Thee to know, Thy power to prove, Alleluia!
Thus to sing and thus to love, Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

But the pains that He endured, Alleluia!
Our salvation have procured, Alleluia!
Now above the sky He’s King, Alleluia!
Where the angels ever sing. Alleluia!

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

–Charles Wesley

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Easter

What a wonderful Easter. (He is risen!)

What follows is a long, rambling, possibly somewhat insightful account of some of the things I was made aware of this Easter.

To start it off, I had a new appreciation of Lent. Lent helped return me to the rightful understanding of Sunday as a celebration of everything we believe.

The last 14 days of Easter were a Spiritual Disciplines project for our college ministry, where we all participated in Bible reading, prayer, service, fasting, confession, meditation, Scripture memory, and giving. What an incredible experience that was! (More on that might come in a later entry.)

Then, we attended Catholic services on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. Much of it was foreign to me, but much was familiar; we do, after all, worship the same Savior!
This year I marveled at the connections between Passover and Easter. In The Passion, Mary and Mary recite part of the questions and answers traditionally said at the Passover dinner: the first question is, “What makes this night different from every other night?”. Mary responds, on Maundy Thursday, with the answer to the final question: “…because once we were slaves, and now we are free.” Why is Easter so special? Because once we were slaves, and Christ has set us free!
Father David, in preparing some for baptism, recalled all the imagery of water in the Old Testament. The Israelites walking through the Red Sea after Passover hints at the beautiful imagery of baptism.
And finally, you have the incredible image of Christ as the Passover lamb, whose blood sealed a new agreement, a new covenant, between God and the human race that He would always pass over our sins and see them punished in Christ’s death.
Man, it’s like God planned all of that to connect or something.

Sunday at church was absolutely wonderful. We sang He’s Alive, the good Wesleyan hymn Christ the Lord is Risen today, and others. A man and wife in their sixties were baptized by their long-time friend, buried with Christ and raised again to walk in newness of life on the anniversary of the event that made it all possible.
Such wonderful, incredible, bursting joy!

I spent lunch and the evening of Easter with Greg’s family, eating and taking pictures and laughing and smiling at the new baby. How delightful!
We watched Babbette’s Feast (in Danish) last night–a beautiful picture of Gospel truth that I will not attempt to summarize here.

This song played in my head afterwards:

For all that You’ve done, I will thank You,
For all that You’re going to do.
For all that You’ve promised and all that You are
is all that has carried me through.
Jesus, I thank You!

And I thank You, thank You, Lord
And I thank You, thank You, Lord
Thank You for loving and setting me free,
Thank You for giving Your life just for me.
How I thank You,
Jesus, I thank You,
Gratefully thank You.
Thank You.

Thank you for Life. No words can fully express what you did. Thank you.

Thank you for love. Thank you for friends. Thank you for family, blood and water. Thank you for school (most days I mean that). Thank you even for lice, for we know that you are sovereign and in control.

As I dive back into the world of thesis and A Cal from a weekend spent remembering God’s death and resurrection, I fight the urge to let the awareness of Easter fade from my mind. Easter is not something we celebrate once a year–it’s an event that makes everything I do everyday possible. Like Scrooge with Christmas, I want to strive to honor Easter in my heart and keep it all the year.

Happy Easter, everyone. He is risen!

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In Which I Argue with the Logic of My Dreams

In my dream last night, things had apparently gotten pretty bad. Worldwide depression, some famines, bad weather, etc. The Church (there’s only one) decided that since things were so bad, the world needed to celebrate, so they moved Easter up by two weeks.
In the dream, it wasn’t to remember the glorious Joy that is the resurrection of Christ on Easter morning (praise the Lord!); it was rather a decision to say, “Hey! Let’s all put out happy decorations and light candles and sing songs and eat candy and everything will all be alright again.”
I voiced my disagreement with whoever I was having coffee in the dream. Lent is a time of fasting, prayer, and devotion to remember the forty days Jesus spent in the wilderness and His ultimate sacrifice. Cutting Lent short in the midst of hard times seemed counterintuitive; this dream Church was cutting away the time intended for us to better understand our suffering through Christ’s suffering and a time intended for more intense fasting and prayer, all for a surface level happiness.

And I woke up from this strange dream about the philosophy of the Church calendar and decided to write a blog entry.

So, embrace the lessons of Lent.

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