Joy welling up!
It is the Saturday before the celebration of Easter Sunday and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, and our Savior. This day prior to Easter Sunday falls in between one day of deep sadness and anguish, and another day of inexpressible joy and jubilation. Yesterday, I was involved in a Tres Ore service which is a three-hour worship setting that is centered on the Passion of Jesus. This event was broken down into 6 sessions that journeyed through Jesus’ betrayal and arrest, trial and Peter’s denial, scourging and mocking, cross bearing and sin carrying, crucifixion and crying out, spirit offering and salvation giving. What a powerful acknowledgement of Jesus’ suffering and death for the forgiveness of our sins.
Then, I joined a group of Christians to do a Crosswalk along the highway in the nearby town of Britton. During our walk we read a document written by an Emergency Room Doctor. The paper depicted what this physician believes Jesus was subjected to during His trial, persecution, journey to Calvary, and His crucifixion. This was a very graphic account of this doctor’s study of biblical and medical facts related to Christ’s suffering and death. Hearts weighed heavy!
Last night, we came to the Lord’s house for our Tenebrae Service (service of darkness). Once again, we focused on the Passion of our Lord. The setting was quiet, the mood was somber, and the darkness was captivating. The service ended in darkness and the sound of a loud noise depicting the closing of Jesus’ tomb. Wow, talk about something which has a spiritual and emotional impact.
Tomorrow, we enter God’s house once again, but this time to the bright lights, beautiful array of lilies, resurrection banners, chimes playing, brass booming, and the joyous words, “Christ is Risen, He is Risen indeed, alleluia! The atmosphere of the resurrection morning is one which is well worth waiting for and it is a celebration to be greatly anticipated. In fact, as I traveled through the Lenten/Holy Week seasons there was a great sense of joy welling up in me as I looked towards Easter Sunday. All the services, extra work, and long days would culminate on that blessed and holy event known as Easter.
Yes, it necessary we travel through the 40 days of Lent. It is important for us to go through Holy Week. For as we spend time in prayerful meditation and repentance, as we remember the night when Jesus was betrayed and He gave us the most blessed meal of His body and blood, in, with, and under the bread and wine, and as we reflect on Christ’s Passion, our hearts are set to fully understand just how much Jesus loves you and me. He was willing to do whatever it took to bring us the gift of salvation and eternal life with Him.
And, if that dear brothers and sisters in Christ does not make for a great lead up to celebrate His glorious resurrection from the dead, I do not know what possibly could. Because Jesus lives so also will we who believe in Him as Lord and Savior. We have twelve hours to go till our Sunrise Service and I am already beginning to well up with unbelievable feelings of joy! Amen and amen. Pastor McCarty