Sunday, April 20, 2014

He Is Risen!

“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!"
Luke 24:5-6 (NIV)

Easter is finally here! This has been one f the most awaited Easter mornings I can remember. For me, this Lenten journey has been the most spirit-filled of my life, and I have been filled with excitement and anticipation for weeks.
During this Lenten season, I did choose to give something up to help me remember what has been given up for me. I chose to give up the radio in my car. I specifically chose this because I wanted to give up something that I enjoyed, not something I know I shouldn't be doing or should be doing anyway, like coffee or desserts. I think my choice was a guided one because it worked. What I chose did exactly what it should. It made me think of the sacrifice that was given for me and for you, but it did more. It gave me time to get used to being quiet. It gave me a chance to think and to listen. It gave me a chance to slow down and actually talk and listen to those in the car with me. It also reminded me how fatigued I am and how much I rely on the radio or activity to keep my attention up! It also cut my rehearsal time for our cantata short, since I usually listen to the music on the way to and from work. I often found myself filling in the gaps, but I found me filling the void with songs of praise instead of secular music.
I also made the choice to do a daily devotional. If you aren't familiar with it, there is an app called YouVersion. One of the many functions of this app is that you can get a reading plan. I completed the ReThink Life: 40 Day Devotional. Day 33 is geared toward giving. Part of it says:
The lesson He wanted them to learn and He wants us to learn is when it comes to giving is: it is not equal amount, but equal sacrifice that matters. God is more pleased with our hearts than He is with the amount.
What spoke to me was that it is about equal sacrifice. What a time to remember this, during the Lenten season.
As I was preparing for the Sunday School lesson this week, I was trying to figure out how I was going to tie together the closing of our study "The Way: Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus" by Adam Hamilton with some additional content. I happened to get an email from FaithGateway by Fred Bittner. He references a survey done by The Barna Research Group which cites that only one out of every 50 adults (2%) said that they would describe Easter as the most important holiday of their faith. In my thoughts, I cannot imagine it not being the most important holiday. The resurrection is about hope, life everlasting, joy, praise, freedom, and so many more words. As I first wrote this, I had a typo and put "home" instead of "hope". But you know, it is about home too. Our everlasting home that Jesus has gone to prepare for us.
Our Easter cantata ended with "He Is Not Here". I really enjoyed the song, but I love the concise lyrics that sums up what is important. The video below isn't our church, but I wanted you to hear the song.
Why seek the living among the dead? He is not here.Jesus has risen, your sins He saved! For He lives again our glorious king! Where oh death is now thy sting? He has conquered everything. He is not here; He is not here! So come to the place where my Jesus lay; The Father has spoken, the stone rolled away. He is not here; He is not here. He arose a victor from the dark domain, and he lives forever with his saints to reign. Love's redeeming work is done. Yes, He Is Here! Yes, He is Here! Right here among us his kingdom's come. Jesus is here! He is in our hearts forevermore; The risen Christ we all adore. 

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