Dear Friends in Christ ~
In 1913, while struggling through a crisis in his faith journey, George Bernard composed these very famous words:
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.
The words of this popular gospel hymn remind us that, as we jump feet first into the season of Spring, we are still trudging along the road with Jesus ~ following Him to His death on that rough and rugged wooden cross. And even all of our Spring cleaning, planting colorful blossoms, and shopping for marshmallow chicks and chocolate bunnies cannot eradicate the sobering thought that Jesus died, because of our sins and for our salvation.
Yet, isn’t this the same thought that also draws us to the early dawn of Easter morning ~ the first rays of sunlight brightening the sky and pushing away the darkness. We are drawn to that empty tomb to hear the angel’s proclamation: “Do not be afraid! Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, has been raised! Go! And tell the others!” And we are drawn together as people of faith ~ to pray and praise and shout our Alleluias! as we celebrate the gifts of reconciliation, salvation, and new life that Jesus’ resurrection brings to each of us.
As we enjoy our Easter hams and jelly beans and family celebrations this year, let us also remember the last part of the angel’s command: “Go and tell the others!” With joy and wild enthusiasm this Easter season, may we shout from the rooftops the immortal words of Rev. Alfred Ackey:
He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way.
He lives! He lives! Salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart!
In Christ’s love,