Easter Reflection

Posted on Apr 20 , 2014 in Easter & Salvation

Easter Reflection

© By Brad L Hodges

It’s been a long day, this blessed day of Easter 2014.

It began for me this morning at 4:30 AM, when the alarm sounded, waking myself and a sleepy, blinking cat up that usually is the one doing the waking rather than the awaken. It was a good two hours earlier, plus or minus, than I generally get up in the country.

Initially, momentarily, at the alarm, as my body and senses struggled against themselves, involuntarily revolting against the unusual hour, I felt the rumbling of grumbling begin but then it quickly hit me as hard as if ice water had been tossed in my face; HE IS ALIVE!

The alarm that sounded became much more than my iPhone app at that moment. It was the sounding of an alarm of victory in my spirit as I got up with an unusual amount of excitement, energy and expectation.

It was the day my Lord arose from the grave, defeated death and set a path for all of the balance of human history to find eternal salvation because of the sacrifice He had made on a rugged cross three days and over two thousand years earlier. It was also the day of my first Easter Sunrise Service in my new hometown and I was energized through and through.

As I went into the kitchen and started to prepare for a cup of coffee the rush of feelings flooded through my heart and soul. I have been struggling slightly under the weight of finances after putting everything I had financially and emotionally into getting a new home-built on property my family had owned for over ten years. Along with that struggle had come some doubts and inevitable broken human whining about my fiscal situation.

Being here had been the culmination of a hard-wired ten plus year dream but a lifetime of longing and desire to live “in the middle of nowhere.” God had made real miracles happen to get me here and into this home and the tsunami of emotion I was feeling as I waited for the water in my Verismo machine to force its way through the coffee pod and into my vanilla creamer filled cup, was a combination of guilt and stark reality that I had nothing to worry about whatsoever! God had made this happen and God would provide regardless of my frail humanity of worry and doubt and HE WAS ALIVE.

My emotion returned to sheer expectation, utter humility and holy gratefulness once again for being exactly where I knew God had placed me and all I could do was audibly and internally praise the name of my mighty Lord for all the goodness Easter represented right there in my tiny environment and to the world at large. HE HAD RISEN and my life and everything in it was a byproduct of that glory.

I got showered and dressed, fired up my old Ford truck, and drove to the community park in town where the sunrise service was being held at 6:30 AM below a hill with a cross atop it. To say I had a song and joy in my heart is an understatement.

The service was one of those seemingly unique these days only to small town America, where the local Presbyterian, Baptist (being my church), and nondenominational churches in town all united to offer a community Easter Sunrise Service to everyone in the town and surrounding ranch area who wanted to participate.

While I had begun to witness a glorious sunrise (this posts featured photograph) out in the distance, as I rumbled along the county dirt road that stared across the more open prairie area where I live, toward the paved highway that went into town, it was a cloudy morning in general.

We had some heavy Spring rain the night before and it still offered to continue on at a moments notice. As I drove the remaining near ten miles into town it became more cloudy than sunrise but that didn’t deter my joy one iota even though I had received a text message from our pastor that should it rain the service would be at our church. I was praying, literally, that would not be the case because I was so looking forward to this outdoor service.

I arrived at the remaining downgrade of the small two lane highway to the park area and as it became visible a huge smile crossed my face as I viewed a small cluster of our local humanity gathered at the allotted place for the service. God’s day of victory was once again not going to be denied even in our scaled down version of it.

Turning my truck into the park entryway and onto the dirt and grass parking area, populated predictably in this predominately ranching community with pickup trucks, I got out with a spring in my step and walked quietly downslope to the joyful crowd that had just began to sing a familiar hymn.

The group was semicircle around four guitarists, one being the town Mayor wearing his cowboy hat and strumming away, a talented boy of about ten or so from our church, a mother daughter team of gifted guitar players, also from our church, and the Presbyterian minister all dressed in black with a frock coat and black top hat, familiar collar of the faith and who was happily and very harmoniously ringing his tambourine skillfully to the guitars all playing in beautiful unison.

There was a basket on the ground filled with singalong sheets, one of which I acquired after that first wonted hymn, as I repositioned myself front and center next to my pastor and his wife to soak in my first Easter service in all it’s small-in-numbers but spectacular-in-spirit glory. I didn’t want to miss a thing.

As we all stood there in the cold breeze and under the cloudy sky, joyfully singing a number of resurrection hymns, interspersed with listening to an Easter bible reading by the nondenominational clergyman, a short Easter message describing Jesus meeting with His disciples after his resurrection and satisfying doubting Thomas, by my Baptist preacher, and a closing prayer by the Presbyterian minister, I noticed a pair of doves sitting close together at one point, on an overhead wire out a bit and above us, observing our worshipful group but for an all to brief moment. It was a pivotal, movingly appropriate juncture for me personally, however.

It seemed to represent all that we were there to do and that was to celebrate and praise, not as independent religious affiliations, but collectively as a group of united believers, a Risen Savior. It was as if God had sent two tiny but significant representatives to share the moment and acknowledge the unity of purpose, and it will be forever etched on my heart and into my consciousness.

At the end of the service happily fellowshipping along the way, we all headed to our vehicles and to a community breakfast at the Baptist church complete with biscuits and gravy, a heat laced breakfast chili, bacon, pastries and of course coffee and orange juice.

The various groups dispersed to their individual churches after breakfast for regular Sunday school and Easter services, including my own Baptist church, but for me the highlight and significance of the day was that community of believers, who may have individually started out gathering in the cold morning breeze and under a cloudy sky at the public city park, to sing and praise God, praying and reading from His Word, but unanimously arrived basking in the bright, warm sunshine of His grace in sending His son to die and to rise again, defeating that death and making it all possible as a group.

What about you? What was your Easter 2014 like? Please feel free to share in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from our readers.

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