Monday, April 1, 2013

Basking in Easter

I have to confess that being a mom of young children, I rarely get to pause and bask in the meaning of holidays.  I'm often busy packing to head to family gatherings and don't allow for margin or white space where I can reflect, especially during holy holidays like Christmas and Easter.  This year was different.  For the first time since having children, we were able to attend our local church service before rushing off to a family gathering.  And I was able to sit.  And listen.  And bask in the presence of God.

I'll confess that my heart was already tender this Easter season.  Maybe it's because I have a daughter who has the most beautiful, sensitive heart, and that we had been talking about the cross and resurrection all week.  Maybe it's because as I read my children the story of the resurrection from their children's Bible and relayed the Good News that Jesus is alive, Lila's eyes filled with wonder and excitement.   Or maybe the Spirit had been working on my heart through those things to prepare me for Sunday.  Our pastor shared a beautiful message on salvation, much more than just a sinner's prayer and altar call.  Reading from 1 Peter 1:3-5, he spoke in depth about God's reason for salvation. 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
At one point during the message, he alluded to a scene from The Passion of the Christ.  Jesus is bearing the cross, and Mary wants nothing more than to be near her son, but the main street is jam packed with people, so she asks James to help her as they rush along the side streets, catching up to a place that she'll be able to be near him.  But when the moment comes, she's paralyzed by her fear and grief and can't bear to come closer, until finally she sees her beautiful son's body, broken, bruised, bleeding as he bears the cross for us and stumbles in so doing.  Immediately, she flashes back to a scene from his childhood where he had fallen and she had run to him to soothe him as she does in this scene and simply says, "I'm here, I'm here," to which our Christ replies, "See, mother, I make all things new."

Listening to the description of this scene, my mother's heart was suddenly shattered.  Why had this never sunk in before?  The amazing sacrifice that was asked of Mary--to not only carry, birth, love, and raise the son of God, but to give him up in the ultimate sacrifice?  But think then of our Father's heart and the sacrifice he made.  He was willing to give up his PERFECT son in exchange for fallen sinners and believe that he was somehow trading up by gaining us!  This absolutely blows my mind.  I can't fathom giving up my imperfect son for the bratty kid at the grocery store let alone giving up a sinless one for an entire fallen world.  So I sat in church and cried and worshiped in gratitude that our Father's love is so deep for us.  For once, Easter didn't mean rushing through the house to make sure I had enough diapers, everyone's change of clothes, and checking to make sure everyone's outfits were perfect upon arrival at a grandparents'.  Finally, I basked in the meaning of Easter.

How great is the Father's love.  All I can do is worship.

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