Summary: this Easter message focuses on the simple reason why Christians walk the way we walk - it is because He got up!
Because He Got Up!
When I was a child Easter was about the new clothes, the Easter play and the annual Easter egg hunt. There was a lot of time and planning that went into those two events. Our Church would have sunrise services followed by breakfast. The services would start at 6 a.m. so we always had the opportunity to attend more than one Easter service. Regardless of all the “churching” we did on those Easter Sundays, when I was younger it still came down to the new clothes and Easter egg hunt. I was not thinking about the reason for the season, I was thinking about how my new suit would match up with all the other boys. I have shared with you in previously how my parents struggled sometimes to ensure that we had everything that we needed and often their finances were tight. I remember this one Easter when my parents could not afford to buy us new clothes so my mother decided to make our Easter suits so we would have something new. She made my brother and me a matching suit out of double knit. The coat was red and the pants were blue. I was very proud of the outfit until I got to Church that Easter morning and some of our friends made fun of the suits my mother made as their parents could afford to buy a suit from the store. I was so embarrassed that I did not want to wear the suit again and I know that hurt my mother’s feelings at the time. Her response was not like some of the mothers today, she made me wear it because she had spent time making it. You understand what I am saying? I was not focused on the reason for the season, but the extra activities that through traditions had been added to it. I do not want us to miss that. It’s not about the clothes – it’s about the fact that Jesus got up!
When I went into the Air Force at the age of twenty, I joined the chapel choir because I loved to sing. One of the additional benefits of being in the chapel choir was it got me out of weekend kitchen detail (I had never washed so many pots and pans the one time that I did it.) One of the songs that we sung in the choir was “Because He Lives.” This song was written by the Gaithers in 1971. If you’ve never heard this song, I want to share the chorus with you. The chorus says “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow; because He lives, all fear is gone; because I know, He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives.” This song held a special meaning for when while I was in basic training. This was the first time that I have been away from home on my own and every thing that I did was being evaluated. There were many things that I had to learn in a very short period of time and there were many days that I was lonely and concerned about whether I had what it took to complete the training. The words to this song gave me hope that because He lived I had a reason to be – to be whatever God wanted me to be. Because He lives my fear could be turned over to Him. Because He lives I can face whatever tomorrow brings because He already knows my tomorrow. Because He lives my life, with all of the mess; mistakes; willful sins; and disobedience is worth living! Why – because He lives and He lives in me!