02 Apr Because He Lives
Easter Sunday is always hilariously entertaining, at least for me. First, there is the annual Easter church service in which a few awesome things are happening:
- Everyone dresses up WAY fancier than they ever have before. I’m talking ladies in bonnets, infants in suspenders, 22-year-olds with beards wearing bright purple shirts and yellow ties so they look like an Easter egg… the works.
- The lights in the sanctuary, worship hall, multipurpose fellowship-nasium, or wherever you worship are turned up just a biiitttt brighter than normal. The tech people want us to know that Christ is Risen, indeed.
- The worship director is in a HYMN MOOD, and it’s clear. Forget contemporary and traditional labels on our church services, this Sunday we mean business and we are breaking open the books and singing in four-part harmonies to the high heavens.
I laugh at these things because it’s been that way in our church for years. No matter what direction our church seems to be heading, these Easter Sunday constants always remain to be true, and I genuinely love that. It makes me feel like a kid again, returning to the church I grew up in to sing “Because He Lives” next to friends and family that have seen me evolve from a ridiculously cute toddler to a horrendously awkward middle schooler to a seemingly normal young adult (HA!)
But this year, God wouldn’t let me have that “same old, same old” mentality. Instead, he decided to smack me in the head (proverbially of course) with that dusty, old hymnal. Because as soon as our worship leader began that solemn, low verse of “Because He Lives,” my vision began to blur. I rubbed my eyes to check if I really was old enough to start getting cataracts and felt a slight bit of moisture on my closed fists. “What is this?” I thought to myself. “Did my brother accidentally elbow me in the face before we stood up to sing? WHY IS THERE WATER COMING FROM MY FAAAACE!?!”
And then I realized that I was, in fact, beginning to cry. Now you see, this shouldn’t be that unusual. When I was a child, I cried all the time. As a young adult, I am no stranger to emotions and have no problem showing the world that every once in a while (especially in a worship setting), men do in fact shed tears. However, this was different, because it came completely out of nowhere. Just a second ago, I had been contemplating in my head weather the guitar on stage was sunburst, or burnt sienna, or some other color that’s trying to sound trendy. My focus was not in the right place, you could say.
When all of a sudden, God grabbed ahold of me and said “HEY. PAY ATTENTION.” And what do you know? The words of that old, dusty hymn pierced right through my core, giving me a baby epiphany. It’s only “because he lives” that I can face tomorrow. It’s only “because he lives” that my fears are gone. And it’s only because I know that he holds my future that life is able to be lived. How many times had I heard those words and not really even thought about them twice? But in this moment, when the questions of “Who am I?” and “HOW THE HECK AM I
AN ADULT?” had been violently swirling around my head, the Lord knew exactly what I needed to hear… and remember.
Look, I know that this is a bit late in terms of Easter posts. Hey Cody, he’s already risen, genius. I get it, I get it. But he doesn’t just LIVE on Easter Sunday. He rose again so that we might remember that he is ALWAYS living. Like, continually forever and ever, amen. And with that knowledge of Christ’s living spirit, we are able to face whatever comes at us, because he’s living it right alongside of us. That is pretty awesome.
So as I stood there trying not to burst into a full out bawl-fest, I thanked God for getting my attention in a new way. And more importantly, for refocusing my attention on what Easter is really about. Because although everything within me wants to make Easter bonnets the focus of Resurrection Sunday, I know the real reason we gather together year after year to celebrate is “Because He Lives.”