When I was a little girl, I remember on Easter Sunday being woken up at 5am! Yes, little 10 year old me up at 5am, after a late night of hot combs, Blue Magic hair grease, ironing clothes, making sure your slip still fit right, and cooking hams, macaroni and cheese, and yams! I still remember how the house smelled! The next day was Easter so we had to truly be prepared! 5am would come and my mom would come to our room, we’d put on our clothes- a preshow fit- because the Easter dress was for later that morning, grab a quick bite, and rush out the door so we could get to no other place, but the glorious house of God. Easter Sunrise service, 6am sharp! We would enter the doors, my sisters and I would take a seat on the pews, sleep still in our eyes yet my mom made sure her girls got there before the sun would rise! Early, early in the Easter morning. I remember thinking why so early, it was still dark! Sure enough right at 6am the Hammond B organ would sing and Sister Macabee would stand up and begin the chorus of one of my favorite songs today, “Because He Lives…” We would celebrate that He, our Jesus, had risen just as He said! What a memory; what a truth!
As I look back on Easter’s past and sit in Easter present…. Coming through Holy Week, I’ve been in much prayer and fasting and I am reminded of the sunrise, that the Son truly did rise. The sunrise service was a symbol and a message to the heavens that just like our Jesus got up, early in the morning, while it was still dark, we too would wake up, early in the morning, while it was still dark and count it an honor to partake symbolically in the resurrection of Jesus Christ! This will forever be the greatest day of victory in the history of mankind! Jesus didn’t get up halfway; He got up with all power and victory and might and a resounding mighty decree- Go tell EVERYONE I have risen!
It didn’t start with a sunrise, it actually began with a sunset; in fact, your bible says, Matthew 27:45-46
45Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama
sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Matthew gives an account of all that our Savior went through, starting with His passionate yet anguishing prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus knew this is what He came to do, therefore he conceded to God’s will as He wiped his brow of sweat as blood. In His accepting, Jesus uttered the beautiful words that set into motion the will of the Father, “NEVERTHELESS, not my will, but thy will be done” (Luke 22:42; Matthew 26:39). It’s the “nevertheless” for me! We must always have one in our spirit! A moment we all come to when we plead with God for something to be one way, but a nevertheless arises within where we know ultimately it’s God’s will that must prevail. Jesus’s words set the stage for everything – from His gruesome torture, to His last words on the cross, to His Holy victory of the Resurrection! In that moment, Jesus focused on what God had called Him to do. He took that cup and walked that walk all the way up to Golgotha’s mount. The real question is, what was in the cup? I believe it was the hope of humanity through the bitter drink of sacrifice displayed by Roman crucifixion on the hill of Calvary, it was the victory for all mankind! This walk, he faced, unfair trial, judgment by a counsel of men born in sin, beatings and abuse, death on a ugly mangled tree, yet there was an anticipation of the son rising again!
And well, that’s what he did… early in the morning while it was still dark just to let the darkness know death, hell, and the grave cannot quench the Light of the World! He’s the God of the promise, and nothing can stop Him! Yes, He died… Yes, He was buried in the borrowed garden tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, which is comical in and of itself. It was a borrowed tomb, as if the broker of Heaven made prior arrangements because they knew he wouldn’t need it for long!… But a greater yes, screams through the ages and the halls of our blood stained souls, YES, HE AROSE! Now because he lives, like Sister Macabee use to sing at 6am Sunrise service, early Easter morning, I can face tomorrow. So on this Easter, we celebrate this good Gospel news, the hingepoint on which we hang our faith, CHRIST IS RISEN, ALIVE, and COMING AGAIN! As I look out my window in my study, on Easter Morning at 6:42am, I see the sunrising, and wow it just got so much brighter!
Happy Easter from my heart to yours!