In the meantime, it is upside-down here in terms of weather, too. Which makes perfect sense on this Easter day.
Two thousand years ago, some thought Jesus couldn't be the true Messiah because he had just died on the cross. So, walking sadly away from Calvary, they thought the criminal whose death made the earth shake was just another dead criminal.
Still, some held out hope for their Teacher and Friend. Despite hopelessness and fear, upon hearing the news, Peter, John, and Mary ran to the stone-opened grave. The men entered to find the lone grave clothes. They were shocked, "saw and believed," yet did not understand that Jesus had truly risen (John 20:8-9).
And Mary, sweet Mary who thought the gardener had taken her Teacher someplace...Mary's eyes were opened upon Jesus' very poignant call of her name.
It amazes me that all Jesus had to do was call her by name and she could see who He truly was. It reminds me of the scales that fell off Saul's eyes. Both could see with holy vision afterward, though their "scales" were different.
I think our sky had scales today.
It was to be a cloudy day. The weather forecast said that Good Friday would be sunny and warm(er) and today, Easter, would be cloudy. I felt disappointed. Couldn't it be the other way around? Good Friday I'd be mourning. I wouldn't mind clouds. But Easter...oh, blessed Easter...as we released our balloons in church and as children ran back and forth in new, fancy dresses, as the sanctuary lit up with fragrant lilies and Allelujah's, wouldn't it be appropriate for the forecast to deem that day full of sun and light?
A pause in the weather forecast for a moment.
Last night from 11:00pm-12:00am I went to the prayer vigil at my church.
Each person could sign up for a time slot and, as I explained earlier, it would be like sitting vigil beside a dying friend. Last year's prayer vigil was highly emotional for me and I awaited this with a pounding and full heart.
My hour was once again beautiful and God showed up, despite how I kept telling Him I was showing up for Him.
After an hour of writing, whispering, crying from the heart, singing, lighting candles, talking, finally it was time to rejoice.
This is my secret:
I saw Easter early.
I saw Easter last year, too. Sneaky, I know. But I was so curious as to what our sanctuary looked like.
Of course, I thought, is this okay? Can't I just take a peek?
I saw the dark narthex and, through the windows, dark seemed to sing.
Dark sang because I knew Life was there. I wanted to hear its song.
I opened the doors. The scent of lilies filled my nose before I caught sight of the flower settings up front. I fumbled for lights and the only ones I could find were the ones up by the cross. The picture below is what I saw - unedited by any picture software ..this is the amazing light that filled the room.
Life pulsed through me. I could smell, feel, taste Life all around. Tears filled me to the brim - but not mournful tears as I'd been used to. I wanted to celebrate.
Last year, when I walked into the newly-Easter sanctuary, and I knew I was alone in the church so I sang Natalie Grant's song, "Alive" (see video later) with great passion. Last night, however, there were people in the prayer vigil room while I took my early glance at Easter so I walked around in awestruck silence.
Had I thought it would be any difference? Doesn't Easter happen every year?
Yet still, here I was, an innocent child dancing happy because Jesus Christ filled the room anew - all things new - Yes, we celebrate His resurrection and life every year, but shouldn't this be celebrated anew each year?
I was giddy. Light permeated me.
Life in the midst of darkness. Light out of darkness. Light despite darkness.
Light because of darkness.
That is Easter.
Let's return to the weather forecast.
I arrived at church early for the 9am service to practice with the Praise Team. While we rehearsed the songs for the morning, I noticed my face warm and lit, all lit up like how the prayer vigil candles lit up the night before.
It was the sun. Sun poured in the sanctuary windows.
And we sang and we proclaimed Jesus' resurrection and we prayed and we thanked God.
I thanked God all day for His upside-down Kingdom.
How the very least of us are loved, how the lowliest become kings and the most sacrificial become rich.
How the weatherman can call for clouds, but Jesus has other plans.
It's been an interesting day. I've found beautiful new music, such as this Jonathan and Emily Martin. On the web site, NoiseTrade, you can download their album for free (and tip them as you see fit, which I recommend). My favorite songs and the ones that have been on loud and repeat today are "Greatest Treasure" and "O Great Vine."
Here is Jonathan Martin giving you a preview and a bit of backstory about "Greatest Treasure."
I've worked on this blog entry all day, with my candle lit beside me and the sky holding onto that sun.
Easter day is drawing to an end and tomorrow is Monday.
No doubt we will face dark in days to come. That is guaranteed.
But what is beautiful about Jesus is that we are new in Him and He gives new mercies every morning (2 Corinthians 5:17 and Lamentations 3:22-23) and, when we love, believe, and follow the Christ...
the Monday after Easter isn't just another day.
Do listen to "Alive" by Natalie Grant. Watch the accompanying video, too. It is from the docudrama about Jesus by Olive Branch Media. I am fascinated by the depiction of Jesus. No doubt the actor chosen will surprise you - for he does not look like the "normal" Jesus usually depicted. I love how they reenact this very much. I pray the music and video, both, minister to you, give you hope and a cause to celebrate and declare, "He is alive!"
Happy Easter, friends. I have truly enjoyed getting a chance to write on my blog with more frequency this week. I'm grateful to God for providing me with such time and opportunity. I do not know what the future holds in terms of time. I might not be able to continue writing here with great frequency. As seen, my blog ebbs and flows a bit. Though I would like more consistency, God calls me to focus on my husband and children more than my blogging pursuits. I know, however, that God will use my writing to glorify Him in whatever way He sees fit. In the meantime, I thank you, dear friend, for stopping by for a bit and taking in my words, thoughts, and heart.
Have a blessed Easter and every day that follows.