EASTER AS IT OUGHT TO BE!

7 04 2020

Easter (2)
It’s Easter like it has never been before for any of us. It may well be the first Easter that many individuals will not actually be able to come together in community to worship the risen Jesus. But while the building may be closed, the church will be wide open. The last I checked, if death couldn’t prevent our Lord from rising from the dead, then the coronavirus shouldn’t keep those of us who wear His Name from raising the roof to proclaim our appreciation. Aren’t you glad that God is still in the business of rolling the boulders of gloom and doom away? Because Jesus lives, not only can we face tomorrow, we can find a life worth living right here and now, today! We don’t have to wait until this nightmare is over to dance to the music of heaven. No matter how hard fear and anxiety over the unknown might try to rule the day, the fact that Jesus did what He did to conquer sin and death is the key truth which opens the door to real freedom.

Easter still gives us a real reason to crank up the volume of pure joy and sincere celebration. Easter is not an escape from the pain of this pandemic, it hits this disease right between the eyes and exposes it for what it really is. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid of what can destroy the body, but make it a priority to deal with what can isolate your soul.” The coronavirus can’t separate us from the love of God. The coronavirus can’t change the fact that the moment I take my last breath on earth, I will begin to breathe the fresh air of paradise. The coronavirus doesn’t negate Jesus being the Resurrection and the Life, the Bread of Life, the Living Water, the Way, Truth and the Life, the Good Shepherd, the Door, the One who would never leave us or forsake us, nor does it cancel out any of the other eternal words our Lord gave us about who He is!

The big question is, “Will Christians find their ability to authentically praise the risen Savior from the current mess they are in?” “Will we choose to worship in the middle of the wilderness or are we so fickle and spoiled by not having our pleasures and conveniences that we will look up to the sky and claim spiritual laryngitis?” I find it ironic that we have been mandated by government to stay within our homes, buried away for an unknown period of time that is definitely testing our patience and spoiling us from participating in the beloved things of spring that we all know and love. If ever we were needing a timely resurrection back to life, it is now. Contrary to those who spout out that they don’t need anybody else to worship God, isolation doesn’t suit us spiritually! God didn’t create us to be loners. We are all at our best when we dwell within a caring community of loved ones. We need one another and those whom we become close enough to come to know us even better than we know ourselves.

Social distancing is definitely not a biblical principle. I believe we are fighting it because it is not in our DNA! God so loved the world that He refused to accept the separation from us that sin caused. It was Jesus who went to the extreme measure of leaving the safe confines of Heaven with no other purpose but to rescue us. He did so by literally becoming one of us. Jesus got as up close and personal with us as anyone could ever be. It was via these means that God mended the broken bridge between mankind and Himself, not by buying or constructing a massive stairway to Heaven, but by His only Son willingly laying down His life down to become the very walk we would gain access to the Father through. Jesus who knew no sin became the deadly virus itself, so that by grace through faith, whosoever will could find their eternal cure and healing in Him. The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t eradicated one fact of all God has done in love for His people. If ever there was a moment when we need something of substance to lift us up out of the pit, it is now!

There was no March Madness. There has been no Baseball. There will be no Masters, no Olympic Games, no Wimbledon Tennis, no family gatherings, no zoo to walk through, no Morey’s Piers to enjoy, no restaurants open to gather in, no where to run and nowhere to hide. There have been people talking like we are not going to have Easter this year. Are you kidding me? You can’t wipe out Easter with a virus. Jesus is not a computer! For years and centuries, the world has tried to squash Christianity, maim the church, silence its Disciples, steal the song of the Resurrection. They couldn’t edit Jesus from our vocabulary then and they can’t keep a good Man down now! Easter is not canceled! There has always been a Resurrection. There will be a resurrection again when this too shall pass. We were not made to live in tombs! We will all get out of our caves and come together again. It may not be this Sunday, but we have the hope that it will happen. That is why I encourage you to get all decked out this Sunday as a family. Don’t watch church online in your pajamas. Ladies, wear that Easter bonnet again. Men, put a shirt and tie on. Let the kids pick out their favorite outfit and tell them they are wearing it to a party! Easter is a jump, shout, knock yourself out, occasion. I will wear the white shoes like I always do, the ones I bought for my first Easter as a Believer in 1976! If Jesus rose from the dead, don’t you think we can rise from our beds? Make it memorable! Take lots of pictures. Open the windows and let the Son shine in! Easter is not good advice; it is Good News! Hallelujah, Jesus is alive! Let your behavior back up your belief! Who is with me?

For way too long, church has become an event to attend. For such a time as this, Jesus is calling us to not go to church but to be the church! I am so proud of all the Cape May County Churches that have been holding their Mass and Services online. Who would have ever imagined that the very smart phone that we thought was such a distraction would actually become a true lifeline? The Lighthouse Church will be remembering Holy Week. We will have live Online Services on Good Friday at Noon and another at 6PM. We will hold a live Online Service on Saturday at 6PM. We will host the Easter Sunday Praise Jam on Sunday at 11AM. Our Sunday Service will also be broadcast and streamed live on 106.3FM The Shore. The website for the radio is: theshore1063.com and the website for the Lighthouse Church: tlccma.org, this page will give you all the instructions you need to party with us.

On Palm Sunday morning, Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem, riding on a colt. He entered the holy city as a humble King. By Thursday night, after celebrating Passover with His disciples, He was arrested and held as a common criminal. On Friday, it appeared that all was lost when the Lamb of God was crucified upon a cross. Can you imagine how dark and depressed the world was that Holy Saturday. I believe this coronavirus has us stuck in Holy Saturday mode, but wait, there’s more! On Sunday, death was kicked in the teeth, Jesus rose from the grave! And all who would believe, our stories will never end in defeat!

The earth awaits a healing from this coronavirus. Christian have not been exempted from its ugly presence. But as Christians, we received Jesus as Lord to follow Him utterly and completely. We esteem Him above everything else, no matter what our present circumstances may be. Church is so much more than just a bless-me club. We are family and our Lord has said to us, “For better or for worse, I will never leave you nor forsake you and not even death will part us.” We claim Jesus as absolute Lord here. Let all hell rage against it. We are here by Him, through Him, and for Him, come hell or high water. Is Jesus not worthy of a true Easter celebration? You bet He is!


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2 responses

8 04 2020
Kenneth Torelli

Always a pleasure Rudy to read your timely articles. Happy Resurrection Day to all the Sheptock family. In Jesus name.

10 05 2020
tockwith

Sound words. A belated Happy Easter to you…from England

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