When I was growing up at boarding school in England, and also on British Military bases around the world, Easter was never something commercialized like it is today. I distinctly remember the red vestments and altar dressings on Good Friday, signifying the blood that our Lord shed for us. I also distinctly remember that on Easter Morning the priest would dress in white vestments, with the altar dressings being the same. White, clean, uncorrupted, pure. As Christ’s love for us was when he died on the cross and rose that third day. I long for a return back to the focus of Easter, removing the worldly version and return back to why Christ gave his life for me.
Easter means three things to me… Life! OK, that is just one, but let me explain my three.
Firstly, the life of my child. Most of you know about Charlotte’s cancer when she was 18-months old. I remember sitting in the PICU at Albany Med the first night after her liver resection surgery, sitting there at 3am asking God what I’d done to have this happen. Why was my little girl going though this? He laid on my heart the hymn Guide Me O the Great Jehovah. The words of this hymn are extremely powerful and to me represent the spiritual journey that our Christian life is, requiring God’s guidance and support, ending at the gates of Heaven and end of time.
In the first verse it refers to the Exodus from Egypt and how God gave the Israelites life with the Bread from Heaven. In the second verse, God provides the cloud by day and a fire by night, allowing life to be preserved, and that God’s people should not become lost. In the final verse, they are leaving the verge of the River Jordan, pushing out for Canaan’s shores, referring to the gates of Heaven, after hell’s destruction in the end of time and the coming of our Eternal Life.
Secondly, my own life. I gave my life to Jesus on August 19, 1991. The day before my 17th birthday. I was working at a Christian Family Retreat Center in the Colorado Rockies. The speaker that week was a short-career former NBA player by the name of Jay Carty, who was the founder of Yes! Ministries, an organization that helps people say “yes!” to God. He gave me a book he’d written at the start of the week called “Something’s Fishy! Get rid of the Carp in your life”. I believe that he gave all the teens on the volunteer staff a copy. I read it and by end of the week I knew there was something that I had to do. I became friends with Jesus.
There have been times since then where I have stumbled and fallen, but I have always had that second set of feet in the sand carrying me when I was sightseeing on Jesus’ time. My life is here and now, and Jesus is the reason for me standing here today.
The third life that belongs in “What Easter means to me” is the Everlasting Life that we were sacrificially given by God when His Son died, nailed to a tree on a hill reserved for thieves and murderers. His blood has washed over us, wiping clean our sin, providing us with a pure white garment that we can wear as a family member in God’s Kingdom, just as the priests in my childhood did on Easter Sunday. On the third day He rose from the grave, bringing a new way for us to live our life’s. Live like Him, act like him. His life is in ours.