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“Easter on The Bench!” Matthew 28:1-10 Key verse(s) 5:“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.’”


Spending Easter Sunday alone is no way to spend Easter! Yet, when you have a bad virus and don’t want to infect anyone else, it may be your only option. This was my lot on Easter Sunday, stuffed head, achy body, sneezing, wheezing, the whole shot. I dragged myself from bed with a head that felt like a blimp. Easter Sunday and I was so preoccupied with my box of Kleenex® and throat lozenges that I even forgot my usual habit on any Easter morn; that being putting a recording of the Messiah on the stereo and turning up the volume a bit. Finally, when it was obvious that, despite my suit being on and my hair combed, that I just wasn’t going to be able to venture out, even to Easter Sunday morning services, my wife called a time-out and pointed to the bench. There would be no “Hark The Glad Sound” or “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” for me today. The rest of the family would travel to Easter dinner without dad. Ham and turkey would be chicken noodle soup for me. There would be no delicious wine or snacks before dinner. My companionship would be the dogs, my box of Kleenex® and a good book. In all my fifty plus years I couldn’t recall another Easter spent like this.


What kind of Easter did you have yesterday? Did it seem like you were really into it or was it a bit of a downer. Perhaps there were circumstances in your life that made you question whether or not Easter really had any “meaning” to you this year. Maybe someone you have spent many an Easter celebrating with was called home since last spring. Or, worse yet, perhaps you are suffering estrangement from a loved one who has chosen not be be with you this year. Your suffering might be physical like mine. It really doesn’t matter, how we approach Easter in our bodies, either emotionally and physically, affects how we approach Easter in spirit.


Author Joe LoMussio writes: “If I were to ask you to describe Easter without using any words, you could only use punctuation marks, which punctuation mark would you choose to describe this Easter for yourself? Maybe this Easter is a comma for you. It makes you stop, pause, think, and listen, but that’s about it. Perhaps today is a downer–a big bold period. You thought you’d feel excited, but instead it seems to be more like empty ritual. You feel like you’re not on the inside, but on the outside . . . an onlooker. It was day when life felt like a period for Jesus’ disciples. He was dead. He was buried. An end to expectations. But wait–news of an empty tomb . . . the period is no longer a period, it’s a question mark. That’s worse than a period. Now they’re beginning to doubt. Where is He? They’re perplexed. the guards are gone, the stone is rolled away. He is not there. And if not there. where? An angel speaks, ‘Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has rise. Remember how He spoke to you while He was in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and how He must be crucified, and the third day He must rise again?’ Of course they remembered! The periods are gone. The question marks are removed. There is one massive exclamation point! That’s what Easter is all about . . . an exclamation of gratitude and of praise for the resurrection Jesus Christ and for the salvation His victory over death brought to us.” (Joe LoMusia, If I Should Die Before I Live.)


Celebrating Easter with a bad head cold is no picnic. Celebrating Easter with a heartache is even worse. Can you imagine how the women who went to the tomb on that Easter morning must have felt? They had witnessed his execution and stood among those who had scorned Him and killed him. Surrounded by the passion of those three days, it stirred within them and reminded them of the certainty of death and the hopelessness of their struggle. They looked for Christ among the dead, but could not find Him. Then the angel asked them “Why they sought the living among the dead?” A good question! Why do we seek the living among the dead? Why do we choose to look for the happiness we feel we so badly need in this life among the dead landscape of sin? Easter dinner and the companionship of family and friends is something each of us should long for. The love we shared with someone no longer at our side is sweet and warm. But, dinner, family, even the love of someone very special to us, are not Christ. These may be reflections of Him but they are not Him. Remember what the angel said–”He is not here!” Each of us needs daily to be reminded that the Jesus we seek IS not here! He is in Heaven with His Father preparing a place for us. As He is not here and we seek Him, neither should we seek Him here. If you find yourself sitting on the bench these days and not “in the game”, remember this: The happiness you seek is not here but there in heaven where He is. No “time out” can take that away from you.

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