Ever have the holidays or a special occasion sneak up on you?
This usually puts me into a last minute scramble of trying to find a present, or write a note, or make appropriate plans. It’s stressful to say the least, and after the event passes I’m always left wondering why I can’t seem to remember that I want to remember these important moments or I’ll have a sense of shame for missing out on the significance of celebrating something or someone in the way it or they should be celebrated.
I share that because this is something I’m working on.
We are headed towards Easter. Can you believe it?
Remembering and celebrating Easter is one of those significant occasions that can sneak up us.
Paul, writing in 1 Corinthians 15, says, “and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain… and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins… if in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
Needless to say, the resurrection is a big deal.
I want to walk into church on Easter Sunday having already prepared to deeply appreciate and celebrate Jesus as the risen Savior and Lord that he is.
One way many have found helpful in preparing to draw one’s attention to the significance of Easter is to walk through the season of lent prior to Easter. If you look it up on Wikipedia you’ll see that lent is for the believer to prepare “through prayer, doing penance, mortifying the flesh, repentance of sins, almsgiving, and denial of ego.” Many traditions will do a fast of some sort to create space for prayer.
In my experience, lent has proven to be an extended time of digging into my profound need for Jesus. It has been an opportunity to practice and invite God to do what the Psalmist says in Psalm 139:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!”
Every year, I gain a greater appreciation for Jesus as he continues to do his good work in my life. Often he has tenderly dealt with my weaknesses, addressed pride, and my tendency toward wandering.
Then when Easter comes my soul swells with gladness.
Jesus being raised from the dead confirms he is who he said he is and his offer of forgiveness and new life can be trusted.
Easter is coming. I'm praying it won't sneak up on us but that we can meaningfully rejoice and in our risen Savior and Lord.
I look forward to worshiping with you on Sunday as we continue in our Real Faith series, exploring “An Obedient Faith” from James 1:22-27!
Grace and peace,