By Debra Whittington: QCS Religion Columnist
Notes from the Church Lady
By Debra Whittington
“And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”
Matthew 28: 5-7
Retracing the steps I took so many times, so long ago seemed familiar and yet different than as a child. On a recent trip to Artesia, Mark and I were out for our morning walk and wound up at the elementary school I attended. It wasn’t the same. The old building is now used for storage and where there once was a playground is a new modern building.
On the walk back to Mom’s house where I grew up I shared stories of friends and teachers. I paused at the spot where I had a bicycle accident. The school bully deliberately hit me from behind. I was bruised, scraped and had a cut on my lower back from the kickstand. I had to carry a pillow to school for a month. As I recall, the bully didn’t even get in trouble for his actions.
It was a short walk home compared to what it seemed as a child. Block after block, I shared stories with Mark about those days. The walk was the same but yet changed from my experiences as a child.
In the days following, I indulged in a great deal of reminiscing about my childhood, including Easter. I remembered Easter baskets with candy, new clothes that usually included a hat and white gloves, posing for pictures, a big dinner, and of course, going to church. I remember the big crowds in church singing happy songs about Jesus Christ being raised from the dead. For a small child, this concept was a little hard to grasp. After Grandpa died, I wondered why he too, couldn’t come back from the dead just as Jesus had.
As an adult, I see Easter in a whole different light. I now know the entire story surrounding those happy songs declaring Jesus rose from the dead. One of my favorite Easter songs proclaims, “Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia”. Oh, what joy that brings to the heart, but also it humbles me when I read again the account of the pain, sorrow, and betrayal that led to Jesus’ crucifixion.
The week began with a crowd that openly praised Jesus during His triumphal arrival in Jerusalem. The crowd turned against Him a few days later. How could a crowd be turned against Jesus so easily? How could the crowd watch Jesus stumble through the streets, beaten until He was almost unrecognizable? Weakened to the point He could no longer carry His cross, the soldiers forced another man to carry it for Him. How could anyone watch as He was nailed to the cross? Where was their compassion?
How could Peter deny the Lord? Peter vowed that he would never deny Jesus claiming he would even die with the Lord. He did that very thing not once, but three times. Where was Peter when Jesus was being crucified?
Where were the other disciples? The Scriptures only mention one disciple being at the cross and Jesus asking him to take care of His mother.
After the crucifixion, Jesus was placed in a borrowed tomb. It seemed as though Jesus’ journey was over for good. The women who returned to the tomb that third morning had no idea what awaited them.
There is nothing like a story with a happy ending and the story of Jesus is no exception. As I read Matthew 28 again, I came to the best part of all. The tomb was empty! Jesus is alive! He overcame death and sin! Now that is what I call a cause for celebration! My little detour down memory lane this past week brought me back to the thing that is most important in my life. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. His sacrifice and triumphal resurrection is the perfect reason for celebrating this Easter Sunday. I urge each of you to attend the church of your choice this weekend and join with other believers for the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20)