I've still been cleaning out drawers and boxes. We've been in our house 6 years and it is amazing the things that are in our attic. We took pick up truck after pick up truck load of things to the Salvation Army before we moved in but we had lived in our other house for 22 years and had raised our children there so we just had a lot of stuff.
Here is another thing that I want to save. In our church, our students (youth) are in charge of the sunrise service on Easter Sunday. When our kids were seniors in high school (2005), our daughter was the one who shared the message (sermonette) at that service. I found it in a plastic tub in the attic.
Easter is one of my favorite times of the year. Easter means that spring has arrived. I must admit that my favorite part of Easter is all the pretty clothes. I know that all of you are probably thinking, "wow, that is a really girlie answer," but it's true. I love walking into the sanctuary on Easter Sunday and seeing the flood of beautiful outfits and colors. For some reason, people always want to look their best on Easter. I must say that I am guilty of this myself. I guess it is because so many people come back to church on Easter Sunday. Easter draws people back for their once, maybe twice a year visit. Many people, including myself have gotten into a tendency to where we only celebrate Easter once a year instead of all year round. We have also gotten into another tendency, we have forgotten why we celebrate Easter. I was babysitting a few weekends ago and the child's mother had left us some stuff that we could do if we got bored. She had left us Easter decorations that we could put up around the house. So we decorated the white stick Easter tree and put Easter eggs with ribbon attached to them on trees in the front yard. After we had finished that, the little girl asked what else we could do for Easter. I suggested that we make Easter cards for people that we know. While we were walking into the house I sked the little girl what her favorite part of Easter was and she said "the decorating." Being the girl that I am I thought, "Oh, I like that part, too." So we went into the kitchen and started making Easter cards. I was making cards for my family when I got to my mom's card. I was thinking about what I should draw on it. Since my mom teaches Sunday School and is very involved in our church, I decided to put a cross or another religious symbol on it. And then it hit me! Why haven't I been putting those things on all the cards. I had been putting Easter bunnies and Easter eggs and Easter baskets on all the cards. I started coloring and asked the little girl if she knew why we celebrated Easter and she said she couldn't remember why. It dawned on me then that we have forgotten the meaning of Easter. Easter is not about the Easter bunny, the decorations, or even the pretty clothes. Easter is about the fact that Jesus Christ died on the cross for us to forgive us of our sins and then on the third day he arose from the dead -- just like he said he would.
We celebrate Easter because that is when Jesus was raised from the dead -- when he was resurrected. Simple enough, right? Wrong! I thought it was simple, too. But I was wrong. I am 18 years old and have gone to church all my life and have never really known what the resurrection really means. I thought that I did, but I really didn't. So . . . feeling a bit ashamed, I went home and read everything I could find about the resurrection in my Bible. First, I got a dictionary and looked up the word resurrection. The dictionary meaning of the word resurrection says: A rising from the dead, or coming back to life; a coming back into use; revival. So that didn't really help me much. I already knew that. Then I flipped to the back of my Bible and looked under resurrection and read everything that was under it. Jesus died on the cross for our sins so when he died, we died with him in sin. Then when he was raised from the dead, we were raised with him and given a new life. When Jesus died and then was resurrected we were given the chance to have new life in him! An opportunity people had not been able to have until this point. Because of the resurrection we are changed. We don't have to fear death because of the resurrection we will have eternal life. It says in Ezekiel 37:12-14 that one day we ourselves will be resurrected and brought to live with Jesus. The resurrection changed everything for us. Something that happened so long ago has changed our lives forever. We need to remember that yes, even though Jesus was resurrected on Easter Sunday, the effects of it are going on in our lives every day. We should live each day remembering the fact that we have new life because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I was talking to a friend of mine about what I was speaking about today. I read him what I had so far and he looked me in the face and said, "So what? What does this mean? What does the resurrection mean? What does it mean to you?" Jesus was resurrected from the dead to help save us from the dark places in our lives. Jesus was in the most deepest darkest place of all and God pulled him out and God will do the same for you and for me. As a lot of you know, I'm a senior this year and will start Auburn University in the fall. I AM TERRIFIED. A lot of people can't wait to go off to college and live on their own, but not me. I fear change greatly and this is a big change that I am going to have to face. I know this though - I don't have to face it alone BECAUSE of the resurrection. God will pull me out of this, just like God pulled his son out. Just think, Jesus died and God pulled him out. I'm just going to college. It doesn't matter what you may be facing. It could be drugs, alcohol, depression, whatever - God will pull you out of it. He will resurrect you from it. There is nothing too big that God can't handle or nothing too small. All you have to do is ask and God will resurrect you from it. The resurrection also means to me that I don't have to worry, I don't have to fear. God will always be there for me to pull me out of the dark places in my life. I have gone to Trinity all my life and I love this church and this church family. I'm scared about leaving it and having to find a new church family in Auburn, but I know that God will take my hand and pull me along and take care of me. I don't have to be scared. Resurrection means new life. When Jesus died on the cross on Good Friday the world turned grey and the curtain in the temple ripped. The world was dark for 3 days, then Jesus rose and the sun came out and flowers bloomed and the world was right again. Most of you have probably seen the cross in front of the church covered in flowers. To me, that is the perfect symbol of the resurrection, the new life. The resurrection gives me hope. It gives me hope in the fact that if I'm ever in a dark place in my life, the sun will shine again just like it did for Jesus. Jesus was dead and alone in a cold, dark tomb and the sun shone for him again.
Has anyone ever noticed that on Easter Sunday the church service is different than any other church service except Christmas? On Easter Sunday the sanctuary is filled with huge banners and beautiful flowers, the music is wonderful and grand just like at Christmas. At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus and then at Easter we celebrate the resurrection. There are reasons why these two special occasions have extra extraordinary services. The church wants us to get excited about these two special occasions. Notice today when you go to church how wonderful the service is. The church is trying to "jump start" us again on Easter. The reason why we do this is 1) because of the amazing thing that happened with Jesus rising from the dead and 2) it helps us remember what we have forgotten, the wonderful meaning of Easter and the resurrection. After the resurrection the disciples were so excited. In Acts it shows us how excited they were. They can't wait to tell the world about what they had seen. Peter, who had denied even knowing Jesus on Good Friday went and stood before the most distinguished religious leaders in the land and called them murderers after the resurrection. The resurrection changed Peter just like it changes me and you. In Acts 4:20 it says "for we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." We have heard this amazing story of Jesus dying on the cross and then being raised from the dead and how we are changed because of it. We don't need to be quiet about it. We need to remind others and ourselves about this wonderful event and never forget it.
There are many different meanings of the resurrection and I have just found out a few. I am going to continue looking for more meanings. If you don't know what the resurrection means to you, I challenge you to find out.