One of my childhood memories is putting seeds in styrofoam cups and setting them in the windowsill. I know people do this as all the time now – I’m not much of a gardener these days. So, for this exercise, I’m going back a few decades in my memory. I don’t actually remember what flowers I planted, but I do remember watching that cup daily as I anticipated the plant’s initial breaking through of the dirt. There were so many lessons to be learned with that exercise, but today I’m thinking about those days … waiting in anticipation.
For me, that’s what today is about. Maundy Thursday and Good Friday tell us of the sacrifice Jesus Christ made because of love. For no other reason, he offered his life. His great love overcame any human fears he might have had. He loved God so much that his obedience took him to the cross.
We don’t understand the depth of that love. We can’t. We can only be grateful that it was offered to us.
Easter Sunday is a celebration of new life, rebirth and the resurrection power of God. When we wake up tomorrow morning, we know that we have a reason to celebrate. Death does not prevail. Life is more than these few moments we have on earth.
But today … today is quiet in breathless anticipation. We know the end of the story, so we don’t need to be stuck in sorrow as the little band of Christ followers were the day after Jesus was crucified. If they had listened and understood and known with all of their heart that he was coming back, what do you think they would have been doing on that day before resurrection day?
For them, it was their Sabbath. Until sunset, they were limited in their activities, but they spent time with others at worship, meals and in town. They should have been whispering their excitement, instead they mourned the loss of a friend.
Today, we should be whispering our excitement. Our anticipation. Our joy … and we should love.
All of this celebration, preparation, and remembrance means nothing if we don’t live in love. Our words, actions, and lives should reflect love. Not the love that we’re familiar with, not the love that others have shown to us, not the love that we have to draw up from within ourselves … but the love that Jesus showed for all humanity. We see glimpses of it, but the world needs us to show love.
There is enough judgment and moral condemnation out there. There is enough hatred, criticism and harsh correction. People are filled with self-hate, bitterness and anger.
Whisper love, speak love, shout love. Live love.
This is what the resurrected life is about … love.
So today, as I wait in joyous anticipation of the celebration of Easter, I know that Jesus Christ returned from the dead. That brings me hope for tomorrow and every day following. In that hope … I will love as unconditionally as this human heart will let me.