“You got up so I could get up again.” He is risen and I’m glad about it! Resurrection Sunday could not have come at a better time. The past month or so, I’ve felt like I’ve been running in place, not really getting anywhere. Work has been annoying, my allergies have been trying to take me out, and I’ve been having hard conversations with myself. Although there have been multiple bright spots, as a whole it still felt like blah.
Today reminded me that after Jesus was crucified, Saturday (or whatever day came before He rose) came and went. The day before Jesus rose, people were still sad and scared; they thought that’s where the story ended. Even though Jesus had already said what He said, Jesus’ disciples and followers, had no idea Resurrection Sunday was going to happen. They thought they’d just have to adapt to their new normal. But the waiting was all a part of the plan.
So perhaps this running in place does feel like Resurrection Eve, the longest Saturday ever, but I’ll trust God because the same power that got Jesus up from the grave, is the same power that lives in me. I’ll be like Noah and keeping building with no rain in the forecast. I’ll be like Mary and carry what God gave me. I’ll be like the woman with the issue of blood, pushing through the crowd to touch the helm of His garment. I’ll rise with victory. Happy Resurrection Day!
Luke 24:6-8 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” Then they remembered that he had said this. (NLT)
It was March 12 when I got an email saying my school would be closed for the next two weeks. Two weeks. Of course I was ecstatic I would be able to work from home for two weeks. I had settled in my mind that after the two weeks, this would be over, things would be back to normal (I actually told my friends all of this seemed a bit excessive). Well, that was a month ago, literally a month ago, and things are still pretty abnormal. Today, many of us would have put on our very best (I already had my outfit ready) and all across the world we would have gathered together in sanctuaries to celebrate a resurrected King. Unfortunately, if you had taken today to travel to city after city and town after town, you would have found empty sanctuaries.
These empty sanctuaries are a reflection of what we’ve experienced this past month. In a month’s time, I was reminded how much I despise conference calls, I canceled birthday plans (y’all I had a whole dinner planned and I was supposed to go see Hamilton!), I canceled flights (see you another time Ramone), and I received so many emails in one day I was almost in tears. This past month, many have lost their lives with their loved ones unable to give them a proper farewell and many more have suffered in hospitals alone and even more than that have been sick and recovered. Traffic has been little to none (yes, even in Atlanta), some have loss their jobs, others have learned new technologies to work from home, others have no choice but to go to work. Maybe last week or the week before (it’s hard to keep up with time nowadays), I had a moment where I truly could not believe we were in this situation; I was legitimately sad about it. But today, as I think about empty sanctuaries, I am reminded of an empty grave! This gives me hope.
Empty sanctuaries may reflect what’s going on in this world but it doesn’t have to be a reflection of what’s going on in our hearts. As believers, we are in this world, not of this world. Our daily lives may be affected, but our daily devotion to a living God doesn’t have to be shaken. We have a peace that surpasses all understanding. The social climate doesn’t change that. Social distancing doesn’t make God distant from us. Jesus came that we may have life and have it more abundantly. My plans for living my best life this past month didn’t happen but God’s plan to reconcile the world back to Him, is still going forth. Sanctuaries may be empty, but let an empty grave fill your empty heart.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Today is the day we celebrate not only the man who died for us, but the man who rose with all power in His hands. And for that, I’m forever grateful. Various scriptures tell the story of the empty tomb and how an angel met the women who came to anoint Jesus’ body with sweet spices; but in Luke chapter 24, it says the angel reminded them of what Jesus said about His death and His resurrection and they remembered (verse 8). Their rememberance was enough for them to believe.
God has told us many things concerning our lives and we’ve forgetten. We become sad about our current situation because we forgot what is to come. We sit at an empty tomb crying over a conquered grave. And unfortunately, when someone brings it to our remembrance, it’s not enough for us to believe. The women at the tomb didn’t need to see Jesus to know He was alive. They simply remembered what He said and believed. In that same chapter, when they told the apostles, the apostles did not believe. Those who walked and talked with Jesus, who probably knew him better than anyone else, did not believe; they did not remember. They wanted to see for themselves.
Don’t be like the apostles, be like those women. Let remembering what He said be enough to believe what He’s done and is going to do.