The Perfect Easter

I am writing this Easter message tucked away in my home office, away from the noise of a movie playing in our living room downstairs. It was not what I had planned for our family time together today, but that is okay. I forgot to buy pineapple rings for the ham, so pineapple chunks were the last-minute substitute. I had hoped for a sunny, warm day today, but awoke to clouds and chilly air. Spring is fickle and so I adapted my church wardrobe to match the April Fool’s weather. Guess what? It’s all okay by me.

When I came to know Jesus, I realized that the perfect Easter had nothing to do with sunny skies, chocolate bunnies, or ham dinners.

Picture the empty tomb as the first rays of light broke over the horizon. The women had come to anoint Jesus’ body, but the heavy stone was already rolled away. His burial linens were neatly folded, but otherwise there was no trace he had ever been there. For Mary Magdalene and for Jesus’ disciples, this was not their plan for Easter morning.

Following those first few moments of chaos and confusion, an angel shares the best news they could ever have imagined:

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.”
‭‭Mark‬ ‭16:6‬

It may have been hard for them to believe, but they soon realized it was true. In the days following, not only did they see Jesus, they talked with him, ate with him and prayed with him. He taught them and comforted them just as he always had, only now when he shared the promise of the Holy Spirit, they believed and understood. Death could not defeat him. He had overcome the grave!

Jesus could not remain on this earth; it was never his home. His work was finally finished — yet it had only begun. He still heals the sick, gives hope to the brokenhearted, and saves shattered lives every day.

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

May the peace of Christ enter your heart and home this Easter Sunday, and fill you with the hope of life everlasting.

 

Time Thief

Yesterday morning I did something I haven’t done in a long time. I actually sat down with a cup of coffee and read our local newspaper. Reading about school sports, commercial building plans, and a food truck location debate provided a bit of grounding for me. I tend to forget about “small town” news which is often drowned out by so many headline-grabbing world events. I also found time to relax and read a favorite magazine and sift through a few catalogs. How had I forgotten the pure enjoyment of a lazy afternoon perusing Birds and Blooms?

I am entering week five of my Lenten social media fast. Each week gets a little easier, and the temptation to open my Facebook and Twitter apps has lessened greatly. (Disclaimer: If you are reading this on either site, this is an auto-generated post from my WordPress account 😊.) My fast was clearly long overdue.

Social media will steal an enormous amount of our time if we allow it, distracting us to the point where we shut out important parts of our lives. We lose personal face-to-face contact, sacrificing opportunities to deepen our relationships with friends and family. We pass through daily life without looking up, ignoring the amazing world around us. If anything, we are actually becoming anti-social!

Today I took some extra time to ponder how God is speaking to me through my Lenten devotional and weekly Bible study. I realized that I have been putting limits on what I am willing to sacrifice in my daily life. I have placed importance on truly trivial things that should not occupy my time or attention.

I know that I am not alone. Social media is a tempting trap, enticing us to over-share and compare ourselves with others we hardly know. For some, sadly it has become a global platform to hate and to hurt. But each one of us can make a deliberate choice about what we share and how much time and space we allow social media to steal from our lives. When my Lenten fast ends and I cautiously re-engage with my Facebook and Twitter pages, I will continue to seek ways that I might be a light in a dark world.

Will you join me?