Gratitude Day 258
Mon., Apr. 22, 2019
John 11:25-26 – Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Hubby Rick and I had been to church on Easter Sunday. We were in the car driving after worship when Rick asked me, “So, how was it to not give a message on Easter Sunday? In fact, how was it being just the piano player during Holy Week and not preparing for worship?”
I shared with Rick how I had mentioned this earlier in the week on this blog. (Full disclosure – Hubby Rick doesn’t read my blogs. Ever.) I shared how Holy Week felt different this year. I LOVE preparing and planning the Holy Week and Easter services. They are my favorite services of the year. Rick admitted not being a part of Holy Week worship this year was also different for him.
I must admit. During worship, my mind drifted to Easter Sunday last year and what I shared in the message. I thought of my favorite Easter songs and how I love singing them during worship. When the kids came up for Children’s time, I recalled the crazy ways I’ve tried to engage the kids with the Easter story over the years.
I know it’s my choice not to be leading worship right now. And I’m still good with this choice. Maybe, I just missed sharing why I choose Jesus to be a part of my life.
So, had I shared a message on Easter Sunday, here’s what I would have shared. Why is Jesus in my life? Why do I choose to center my life around someone that I’ve never actually met? How do I know there is or was a Jesus and that he is God’s Son? And what does this mean to me?
I realize whole books have been written on these topics. I’ll try to give you a shortened cliff notes version.
Why Jesus? While I may have never actually seen Jesus, I’ve felt Jesus in my life. I know that Jesus has helped me through some challenging decisions, times and opportunities in my life. I choose to believe this book called the Bible that shares at least four accounts of Jesus’ life, written by people who chose to share what they knew about Jesus. Even though these four accounts may not always be in exact agreement, I’m OK with this and believe the underlying message of Jesus as God’s Son is strong in all four accounts.
Why is knowing Jesus important to me? It gives me hope. Hope that even when I make poor choices or do not live up to my potential, it’s really OK. I don’t have to redeem myself because Jesus has already accomplished this for me. I just get to be me and make mistakes and try to let Jesus’ love shine through me in what I do, say and how I choose to live. Knowing Jesus gives me hope that I don’t have to be perfect. God loves me anyways. Having Jesus in my life gives me hope that there is something beyond this earthly life; something far more exciting than I can ever imagine. I look forward to knowing more about this someday.
Relationships were important to Jesus. In fact, his life and ministry centered around relationships. My relationship with Jesus is important to Jesus and to me. I invest in this relationship so I can become clearer about how I can manifest God’s love into this world; a world that is terribly broken and I feel needs hope, love and peace. Through prayer, I feel I can listen and share with God and Jesus.
I’ve become comfortable in knowing that I will never fully know or understand Jesus or God in this life. And I’m OK with this. This doesn’t mean I stop learning or exploring them. I rely on faith in them as being something that gives me peace. While it can be easy to feel your questions about faith never fully get answered, I choose to appreciate how much of faith I feel is made available to me.
We can worship and praise God in many, many different ways. Your way many not be my way … and that’s OK. Your relationship with God is not my relationship. Your experience is not my experience. I pray that we can appreciate and celebrate these differences rather than choosing to let differences become more important than faith and why we choose Jesus and God in our lives.
Later in the day, my sister-in-law Linda shared these words on Facebook. I thought they captured much of why I feel Easter is so important. The woman she is speaking about would be my mother-in-law, Ersel:
Sorting through some of my mom’s papers, I came across this Easter memory. She was sitting next to her grandma on Easter Sunday, she noticed tears rolling down her grandma’s face while singing “The Old Rugged Cross and again when singing “He Arose”. She thought to herself, what is wrong with this old woman? Why all the tears? Her grandma looked at her and told her someday she would understand. Today my mom is singing with the angels. I am the old woman sitting in the pew with tears in my eyes. I understand. Do you? Happy Easter.
I pray that you had a wonderful Easter.
For the opportunity to think about why Jesus is such an important part of my life, I am grateful.
Alleluia! He is risen! Have more powerful words been spoken? I pray we celebrate these words and Jesus in our lives today. Amen.
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