Next Saturday/Sunday is Easter Vigil (Saturday) and Easter Day (Sunday). Please consider the following lessons:
Easter Vigil: Genesis 1:1 – 2:4a; Psalm 136:1-9, 23-26; Genesis 7:1-5, 11-18; 8:6-18; 9:8-13; Psalm 46; Genesis 22:1-18; Psalm 16; Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21; Luke 24:1-12
Easter Day: Acts 10:34-43; Isaiah 65:17-25; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; 1 Corinthians 5:19-26; John 20:1-18; Luke 24:1-12
All of these scriptures reflect and rejoice upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ from death to life. The resurrection of Christ is the beginning of human hope. Hope is strongest when the night is the darkest, when the problem is the prickliest, when the task is the toughest, when the burden is the heaviest, when the pain is the sharpest, when the challenge is the hardest. Hope appears strongest in the very places where hope is least expected. Death is the most difficult experience that we will ever face, yet Jesus has risen from the dead to give us hope that through him we too can rise above any danger, difficulty or disadvantage that may confront us in any place or at any time.
I do not believe that anyone has yet begun to tap into the powerful truth and essence of Easter. It is God’s greatest sermon to humans who have trouble understanding the ultimate mysteries of God’s power and God’s love. We do not easily understand the words and works of God. That is why we use less than one tenth of our brain capacity, and develop less than one thousandth of our human potential. My prayer will continue to be that as we read all the Easter scriptures for Saturday and Sunday, we will let them bring to our hearts the truth of God so clearly that we will be carried up a little higher into the realization of what God is doing now in our life and in our world to defeat death and to create new life from all seemingly hopeless and helpless situations. May all the nations of Africa find new hope and new life in the risen Savior that they may rise with Jesus to a new level of strength and sustainability. I pray for the chocolate cities of America, so abandoned, so blighted and so beleaguered, that the Gospel of Easter will leak out from their sanctuaries into their streets and become the seeds of new gardens of diligent delight where there is now waste and death and decay. I pray for every grieving heart, every aching body, every failing child, every sinking soul, every sagging personality that the power of the Gospel of the empty tomb will empty their lives of discouragement and open their eyes upon the new possibilities that are present in them because of Jesus. What time is it? Easter. A light shines in the middle of the darkest night. A wounded hand is stretched out to heal us in our sickest hour, and a risen Savior is alive and active in our deepest despair. Three things:
- Remember His words.
- Return to your work.
- Re-tell the story and pray for wisdom and courage to face the challenge of this hour with love, joy and power from God.
C. G. A.