Thursday, April 5, 2012

That One Easter

33 years as a Christian with a Christian family in a Christian home with Christian grandparents and now married to a Christian man with Christian kids that also have Christian grandparents... at this point, I have had my fair share of Easters.

We could usually squeeze in at least three egg hunts each year. Probably 2 to 3 dozen decorated eggs. At least one Good Friday service, and I'm sure there are lots and lots of springtime dresses piled up somewhere that were won after hours, and hours, and hourrrrrrs of shopping for the perfect one. And of course that doesn't even account for all the Easter services, all the times I was an angel coming out of the tomb or something. And let's not even get started trying to add up all the calories that I have consumed over the years at Easter brunch and the subsequent "dessert" of jelly beans and chocolate.

But all in all... out of all of those Easter celebrations... I remember one.

We went camping for the three day weekend when I was in college. It was at this really neat camp ground in Fort Richardson. I drove in from Hardin-Simmons (Get Your Guns Up!) and met my family when they drove in from Melissa. And we had a great time as a family... my brother and my dad went fishing at the little pond there. My mom and I both read our fair share of magazines and chatted until our mouths were dry. We all enjoyed the campfires at night (complete with smores, of course) and the smoky eggs and bacon in the mornings.

Honestly, I didn't even think about us going to church until later in the day on Saturday when one of the rangers dropped by to tell us that there would be a sunrise service on Sunday morning. Well, a sunrise service when you are at home in bed can sometimes be a true sacrifice to get up, get out of bed, get dressed in that cute dress that you spent hours shopping for that no one will notice because they are all still wiping the sleep out of their eyes too. But, when you are camping, well... you can't really sleep in anyway. You're already uncomfortable sleeping on the ground and once that sun starts to come up there is simply no fighting it.

So, we all agreed to go to the sunrise service.

Although I had been a Christian since I was eight, my discipleship in Christ really only began when we moved to Melissa and started going to First Baptist McKinney. I had never really read the Bible before Grant Byrd got a hold of me and set me going in the right direction... and wow, only then did I realize the joy. the direction. the blessing. that could come from the Word of God. But, I was still a little behind in reading through all of it. So, when the leader of the sunrise service said that he wasn't going to speak, he was just going to read through Isaiah 53... I totally remember thinking, "What? He's just gonna read some random chapter from the Old Testament? Jesus isn't even IN the Old Testament... this is so gonna be lame."

And then he read it... and I was changed forever... and I heard the life and death of Jesus prophesied 700 years before it even happened... and I saw Him in a whole new light... and I worshipped Jesus on that Easter morning like never before and never since. As the sun rose up and we sang "Jesus Gave It All" I experienced Easter in a way that they did on that glorious day of resurrection thousands of years ago... I saw Christ in life... Christ in death... and Christ ALIVE.

So, take a moment... even if you have read Isaiah 53 a gazillion times, take a moment and have your Easter right now. Read through Isaiah 53 and know that you are loved. you are redeemed. you are saved.

Who has believed our message? To whom has the LORD revealed his powerful arm? My servant grew up in the LORD’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.

He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!

But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.

He was beaten so we could be whole.

He was whipped so we could be healed.

All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.

He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.
Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream.

But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people.
He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.

But it was the LORD’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD’s good plan will prosper in his hands.
When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied.

And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.
I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.

1 comment:

  1. Love this. January, you are a great writer--and we worship a great God!