We Are Easter People!
Lucinda Secrest McDowell
The old cemetery is cold and dark.
I climb slowly up the hill, clad in snow boots and a winter coat covering a bright spring dress underneath. Grasping my daughter’s hand, I weave through eighteenth-century tombstones, up to the summit of the Ancient Burying Ground.
We are waiting for the sunrise.
As light filters over the hill a full brass band plays “Jesus Christ Is Risen Today” and about a hundred people sing to commemorate that first Resurrection Sunday—Easter!
Shouts of “The Lord is Risen,” followed by “He is Risen, Indeed,” accompany our worship and joy. When the service is over, we make our way carefully back down to the church—this time in the light. And gather for a hearty New England breakfast.
And now folks’ faces are shining like the sunshine that appeared. We had experienced the dark together, encountering obstacles but always waiting for the promise.
And He came.
Is this what it was like for the women who visited the tomb at sunrise so long ago? Daring to believe that indeed the One they loved and followed had conquered death and come back to life, just as He said?
Within me comes a renewed hope, a renewed vow to always be an Easter person.
And, of course, a strong desire to sing Handel’s music comes too: “Lo! Jesus meets us, Risen from the tomb; Lovingly He greets us, Scatters fear and gloom; Let the church with gladness, Hymns of triumph sing; For her Lord now liveth, Death hath lost its sting. Thine is the glory, Risen conquering Son, Endless is the victory, Thou o’er death hast won.”
As Easter Sunday culminates in the end of our season of repentance and renewal, where does the Risen Lord find you in the Easter story?
- Are you the one who goes to sleep in the garden?
- Are you the one who helps Jesus carry his cross?
- Are you the enthusiastic follower who falters when the going gets tough?
- Are you one of the first at the tomb?
- Are you the one who doesn’t even recognize your companion on the road?
Jesus knows who we are. And still He loves us and reminds us. You have been born anew into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. ~ 1 Peter 1:3 CEB
“Almighty Father, who in your great mercy gladdened the disciples with the sight of the risen Lord: give us such knowledge of his presence with us, that we may be strengthened and sustained by his risen life and serve you continually in righteousness and truth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”
“Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one.
I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever!
And I hold the keys of death and the grave” (Revelation 1:17-18 NLT).
He will have the last word. Hallelujah!
under the mercy, Cindy
©2016 Lucinda Secrest McDowell
My new book Dwelling Places – Words to Live in Every Season by Lucinda Secrest McDowell contains a 40-day Lenten devotional “Renew” (as well as fall, Advent and summer) It arrives June 2016 from the good folks at Abingdon Press. Available in Paperback and Hardcover. During Lent 2016 I will include some of those devotionals on my weekly blog.