Re-post: Getting Ready for Easter

On Easter Sunday this year, millions of Christians on all five continents will gather, not only in magnificent cathedrals and traditional churches, but also in worship centers, store front chapels, and even thatched huts.

Some will risk their lives to attend. They will be there to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, as they listen with intensity to resurrection Scriptures and sing with joy resurrection hymns.

But individual persons in these throngs will differ from one another in their grasp of resurrection truth and also in the intensity of their faith in Christ. What will make that difference? One possibility will be how well they have prepared heart and mind during the weeks prior to Easter Sunday.

The importance of preparation for Resurrection Sunday has been formalized in church practices since as far back as the fourth century A.D. when the forty days prior to Easter Sunday were set apart for that very purpose. During these forty days of Lent, special observances are encouraged – such as fasting, acts of self-denial, increase in the giving of alms, etc.

My idea is to live devotionally during those days with the Gospel accounts of the last days of our Lord’s life up to his crucifixion. To do this, my heart is drawn to the Gospel according to John. His account has 21 chapters; yet, as early as chapter 12, he introduces his readers to the events of one week — the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. So, chapters 12 to 19 – eight of its 21 chapters — are devoted to the events of that one single week. If a third of John’s gospel covers only one week of Jesus’ 33-year lifespan, that tells us they are very important.

Please note how Chapter 12 begins: Martha serves a dinner in Jesus’ honor. Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead, is at table. In an act of extravagant devotion, Mary breaks open a jar of the expensive perfume, nard, and pours the whole content on Jesus’ feet. The fragrance fills the house.

Judas is openly offended and complains that this ointment could have been sold and the proceeds given to the poor. But John, writing much later, tells the truth about Judas: he “… was a thief; as keeper of the money bag he used to help himself to what was put into it” (John 12:6).

What a wide range of concerns in that room! Just so in this Easter season: some will love the Lord with the warmth and sincerity of Mary; others may be present but kept from worship by blockages of greed, pride or sensuality. How appropriate to test our love by a verse of an old hymn:

More love to thee, O Christ, more love to thee;
Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee.
This is my earnest plea, more love, O Christ, to Thee
More love to Thee; more love to Thee.

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One thought on “Re-post: Getting Ready for Easter

  1. I first read this ‘Just Call Me Pastor’ blog ‘Getting Ready For Easter’, during Advent.

    Now it’s the fourth week in Easter . Maundy Thursday and Good Friday ,the culmination of Holy week and Advent ,has come and gone.Easter Eve and Easter Day have come and gone too. But not Easter.We are still in Easter.

    After all the preparation during Lent,culminating in the intense focus on the Via Doloroso and Crucifixion, at Good Friday’s Stations of the Cross meditations, Easter Sunday came like an intense burst of triumphant rejoicing.Everything felt so good.But Easter is 50 days and Easter continued ,but for many of us ,it was difficult to keep that high standard of rejoicing up for long.

    By the second Sunday of Easter ,for many of us ,our enthusiastic rejoicing began to burn out.I n fact , at least over here in UK,the second Sunday in Easter is often called Low Sunday.Because of that flat feeling sometimes experienced after any great celebration.The morning after,certainly the week after ,it’s hard to maintain that high level of joy and enthusiasm.The shout of ‘Alleiluia ,He is risen indeed’ was ,in our church, noticeably not quite so loud and joyous as on Easter morning. Perhaps we had rejoicing fatigue.

    The preacher of the sermon that second Sunday in Easter reminded us all , that Easter is 50 Days .It was time to rekindle our joy at our Saviors resurrection Low Sunday was a good day to find our ‘ second wind’ ,with Easter Sunday fresh in our hearts and mind Time to find again our enthusiasm ,and refind that glorious rejoicing we felt in our hearts on Easter Sunday.

    Preparation for Easter is of vital importance.That is the purpose of Lent,just as preparation for Christmas and the Incarnation,is the purpose of Advent.Perhaps the better and more thoroughly we have prepared for Easter during Lent,the more meaningful Easter will be to us.The better able we are to regain,on Low Sunday,that great feeling of Easter Sunday when we acclaimed Christ’s resurrection .Through the Christian year,it is good to commemorate Christ’s life here on earth.

    What wonderful preparation to relive in our hearts,our Redeemer’s last week before death and resurrection.I believe John’s gospel was written by the disciple Jesus loved,the disciple who leaned near Him at supper,despite what some commentators say..What better account of Holy week than by the disciple who was close to Jesus every moment of that week,right up to the foot of the cross ,with mother Mary and Mary Magdalene and the women of Jerusalem.John’s account is full and detailed. So in the later weeks of Lent I focused on John’s passion gospel,having focused on the whole of Mark then Paul’s letter to the church at Rome, in early Lent.

    Yesterday was the fourth Sunday in Easter,in our church also known as Vocations Sunday. Candidates for ordination consider ordained or lay ministry.Are they called by God,they ask themselves. Vocation ,from the Latin vocātiō, meaning a call or summons.An occupation to which a person is specially drawn.I find it a good Sunday for each of us to look into our hearts and find the plan God has for each of us to do His will,to further His kingdom.By dwelling again on what Jesus did for us on Good Friday, and what He has won for us ,as revealed on Ressurection Sunday, our love for our Savior is deepened our motivation to live for Him – strengthened.

    I always find one of the most moving moments in the Passion Gospel of John ,to bethe moment Jesus,even in His terrible agony on the cross,near the point of death,concerns Himself with the welfare of His mother and His friend,above His own suffering. He takes care of their future.

    ” When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
    Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.”
    John 19:26 – 27 AV or KJV

    In truth,Jesus’s whole concern is for others as he hangs dying in agony on the cross.Love for His mother and friend.Love for us, we for whom Jesus is suffering and dying for.It is a supreme act of love.Who could ever not love such a one ,our Redeemer, with al our heart. May our love for our Saviour blaze in our hearts all through these 50 days of this Easter celebration as we rejoice in our Lord’s resurrection.And blaze beyond these 50 days

    May love for Christ blaze in our hearts every Sunday, which is the Lord’s Day, a celebration of His resurrection. May love for Him blaze every day ,for every day is our Lord’s day, all through our lives may we love Him with all our heart, rejoicing in His resurrection.

    ”More love to thee O Christ,more love to thee’

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