A week of frustrating, praying, agonizing, and reading about the Resurrection event and how to protray that to a group of Saints who could probably run circles around me on a bad day in terms of biblical knowledge.
Just as I had said in a sermon the previous Sunday (Palm Sunday) about Christ experiencing his own 'HELL' week, this past week was my own "hell" week.
A week of listening to the constant battering of the Devil and his attack on my weakness of self image, ability, and reasoning.
Wrote about fifteen different sermons; fifteen different ways to look at the Resurrection.........and destroy each upon the rereading of them.
"No, it doesn't fit."
"No, that's not where I feel God wants me to go."
"Are you kidding me?????"
Resurrection Sunday, I have nothing and am in a depressed, self loathing kind of mood because I am not prepared for service.
At the coffee shop, about twenty minutes before Chapel, I scribble down some 'facts' and 'thoughts'.....nothing like my well-thought out, outlined, and informational sermon outlines.....just frantic scribbles in bright blue ink upon lined paper.
I take a deep breath, pray a quick prayer as I head out the door to get to the Chapel......
I open up with some prayer, songs, and heartfelt greetings as I have done since the beginning and have a peace that God sends to me descend....I know that He is there, and His word will be spoken...imperfectly by me....but with the perfection that He has given throughout the ages to those who would teach His word.
Then I look up.........my entire family walks into the Chapel room and sits down in the back. I haven't begun the sermon, haven't even an inkling of where God wants me to start and I've got to throw out all the notes I've scribbled....
they would not be appropiate for the children...........
but the peace still exists. I know God is there and He's showing me just how He can do what He's purposed me to do no matter the heavy weight I feel about the Resurrection story and having my family there.
And it came out wonderfully. Tradition verses the realism of the Resurrection event. Once again, God reveals Himself perfect in my weakness.
The tradition of the Easter holiday; the purchase of new clothes, attending church, gathering with family and friends, and the presentation of candy gifts is something that we've all experienced, for almost two thousand years.
Its getting to the point where it is nothing more than tradition. Something that must be done, must be said, due to the fact its always been that way.
But, that's not a reason we should celebrate the Resurrection event.
It is a renewing and reinvograted thing that took place upon this world some one thousand, nine hundred and seventy seven years ago (give or take).........
The death, the resurrection, and the ascension of the Messiah Jesus Christ happens (or should) to each Christian anew, each celebration of the Resurrection event.
And it shouldn't take the loss of another soul to the Devil, the lifeless journey of a worldly scholar, our own infirmities or the attack upon the very foundation of Christian belief to make it something new....
something so totally awesome,
so totally unbelievable and yet understandable,
and so LOVING,
that we cannot help but honor and glorify the main character, Christ himself.
Tradition is a good thing, in so far as it brings us to the place where we honor the past.....but the Resurrection event isn't a tradition, isn't the past
.......but the future of us all who believe in the sacrifice upon that Cross so many years ago
......and the power of our Savior who walked upon the earth three days later.....
My family was proud of the first sermon they've seen their husband, father, and step-father give as a Chaplain. Yet it wasn't that pride that made the day for me.
My wife said that I made her cry
.....and it was awesome to see some of my chapelites (who fall asleep due to their meds) stay awake for the service...
and to walk from the chapel with my son in hand, hearing him say that he wasn't bored with the adult service but was proud of his dad and thankful Jesus rose again.
"Because, Dad, we know we'll live in Heaven one day."
From the mouth of babes..........this is what Easter should be to us all.