Saturday night I picked out my clothing for Resurrection Sunday morning. Blue suit. A bright white shirt with crisp collar and cuffs. Freshly-shined boots. A bright hand-tied bow tie, the reversible one with lime-green and purple, blue and pink stripes. (I know it sounds like a clown costume but it really is pretty sharp and fairly shouts “celebration”).
I always tell my friends, “If I am wearing a bow tie, ask me what I am celebrating.”
Reasons To Get Out of Bed in the Morning
One of the keys to happiness in life is to always have something to look forward to. I call it “Reasons to Get Out of Bed in the Morning.” I keep a list of things running in my mind of things I am looking forward to, celebrations I am planning. Life is full of hard things, you don’t have to schedule them, they just keep coming at you. You can get so busy wrestling your duties to the ground and scrambling out from under your pile of obligations and deadlines, that forget to party. That is not good for your soul.
Every Lord’s Day is a celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus, but for a follower of Jesus and especially for a Gospel-preaching pastor, Easter—Resurrection Sunday is an annual parent, fest day, holy day, and grand celebration.
At Bethel Sunday we started with a full breakfast (I had a biscuit and gravy). The sky was clear, the sun was bright, and the temperatures were warm for Michigan in April. The service was well-attended. Ken Wyatt opened up our wonderful organ, David Parsons lead a brass ensemble, Jerry Glazer lead a large men’s group in singing a song he wrote about the resurrection. Our worship leaders spread across the platform to lead us. We had folks on drums, guitars, a piano and keyboard and a full congregation up to the balcony of uplifted voices to sing songs old and new exalting the risen Christ.
Leaking Hope and Losing Faith
Then I stood to tell the story. I told the chapter of the Resurrection story where two disciples are trudging the road home to Emmaus with their heads down and their hearts confusing, leaking hope and losing faith. Suddenly there was a stranger alongside. They did recognize it was Jesus himself, raised from the dead. He corrected their misunderstandings, restored their faith and set their hearts afire again. They invited him home. He acted as the host and took the bread. Maybe that reminded them of the other times he broke the bread, maybe they saw the nail scars in his hands, but God opened their eyes. They realized who he was—that he was alive and said, “Didn’t our hearts burn within us while we walked on the road and he taught us.” That very hour they returned to Jerusalem to meet with the eleven and celebrate that Jesus was alive.
Sometimes we trudge the road to Emmaus losing faith and leaking hope. We walk away from Jesus when we should be running to him, but he is merciful and follows us down the road and answers our questions and explains the Scriptures and draws us into fellowship, and we see him clearly again in the breaking of the bread.
I know life is hard. Sometimes things go wrong in threes. I know we live in a world that is broken. I know disappointments can be crushing sometimes. I know it can be hard to hold on to faith and hope can leak away, but keep your bow tie handy, Jesus died and rose again and someday he is coming back to right every wrong and spread his love and benevolent rule over all the earth. Those who believe will be swept, by his grace into his Kingdom forever.
Someday, maybe soon. Keep a bow-tie handy or lay out your favorite Easter dress. Don’t put away your dessert recipes. Keep your guitars and horns all tuned up. We serve a risen Savior, He’s in the world today.
April 10, 2023
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