It’s been a quiet day today, Easter 2011; Janet and I spent the day alone. Don’t get me wrong – if you have followed this blog for any length of time, you know that we enjoy each other’s company and really don’t need to do too much to have a great time. It is true that the weather is getting us down – it seems more like Noah and the flood rather than spring. We grilled dinner outside this evening, but more than anything, it was an eclectic day that was filled with a number of unrelated events. And I thought about the different Easters in our lives and how things have changed over the years. Not the main message – that should never change for any Christian – but the celebration of the day.
As a young child, I remember the Easter egg hunts, and the Sunday dinners at my grandparent’s house; not just on Easter but every Sunday. And tonight, we just happened to turn on 60 Minutes, which I used to watch with my grandfather after Sunday night dinner. We watched a segment on the monks in Athos, Greece and how they spend their lives trying to get closer to God. I really liked the story – I try to do those things also, but I don’t think that I could dedicate my life to living on a peninsula and praying “without ceasing” like Paul commanded us to do so many years ago.
And this afternoon, we rented a thing on U-Verse about the Hubble Telescope. As big a space nut as I am, I really enjoyed viewing the images from different galaxies, made possible through the Hubble, but all I could think of was how awesome God is and how vast are the heavens and the earth. I just can’t comprehend it. But another memory really took up most of my thought and this Easter.
Not many years ago, our son Andrew, who is now 29, was having trouble with his ears and also experiencing severe nasal congestion. He finally went to an ear, nose and throat doc who suggested that he have surgery to remove what appeared to be a mass in his nasal cavity and throat. We were all prepared for a simple outpatient procedure; until the doctor came out after the surgery and told us he thought that Andrew had cancer. Janet and I were stunned – neither of us was even remotely prepared for this, and Andrew was not even awake yet. They took biopsies and said it would be several weeks before we know the outcome. And in all the years of being a father, I don’t think that I ever felt so helpless. There was absolutely nothing that Janet and I could do to lift this burden from Andrew. Our family just had to wait it out and see what the results were.
A great number of our friends were praying for Andrew and when the biopsy came back negative for cancer, we were all relieved – most of all Andrew. I remember him telling Janet, before the result came in, that there was nothing quite so personal as being told that you might have cancer. I don’t think I will ever celebrate another Easter without reliving the events of that day at the hospital.
But I did think of God – and His son Jesus Christ. As much as I love Janet, Kristin, Jill and Andrew, I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for God to face the death of His son on the cross. And I think that for the first time ever, the year Andrew was sick, I saw Easter week-end in a whole different light. Yes, the celebration, of course, but what it must have taken for God to have devised a plan that called for the death of His Son that we all could be saved. And John 3:14-15 is the best possible passage for me tonight, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” Followed, of course by the most famous verse in the Bible, John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
So my encouragement tonight, as we start another week, is to let you know that we have just finished the most Holy week in the Christian calendar, but Christ calls us to be progressively more like Him each day, so the quest for holiness continues. And my prayer this evening is that this year you will come to have a more personal relationship with Christ, and God, the Father, who made the decision for Christ to be sacrificed that we may all enjoy the free gift of eternal life. So now that Easter is over, I pray that you will continue to focus on Christ. His greatest desire is for you to have a chance to get to know Him better. Why not start right now? Have a great day with the Lord.