An afternoon walk in the sunshine on Easter isn't the same as an Easter sunrise service, but it has its fine points. I was serenaded by the sounds of birds, wind, ducks, water, kids and rustling leaves and grass, and soothed by the beauty of spring colors, including the pink, purple and yellow blossoms in trees and wildflowers! What an accompaniment for prayer, meditation and reflection on what Easter means to me. My soul is refreshed from communion with the Living Christ!
This followed a morning filled with worship. Compared to the days when the church choir sang for sunrise service at a park and the early and late services in the sanctuary, Easter Sundays now seem pretty simple. But maybe that's a good thing. As hard as it was to make it to church for the 8:30 service today to sing a requested solo, how did I ever make it to a 7 a.m. sunrise service? But I know I did, as did many other people, and I know the memories are precious.
As for the requested solo, I feel so humbled and grateful when I can share in the special music of Easter and Christmas and big moments in the life of Christ's church and its people. Today, it was "The Holy City." This is another of those songs I feel as if I've known forever, either from hearing it often as I've grown up, or because it's one of those songs that just adhered to my soul. Perhaps as a young girl I dreamed of someday being the one to sing such a beautiful song at my church. But there were many, many years it didn't seem possible. That was because God knows I don't want to sing at His special occasions unless I can sing to His glory. To me, that means singing on pitch, getting the words right (or at least most of them) and singing with joy but somehow not so much emotion as to detract from the message of the music. I know that's only possible for me by letting go and letting God. (And part of that process is trusting that if it's not on pitch or I mess up the words or get all shaky, somehow that fits into God's plan, too.) Today's joyous result was a reminder that truly all things are possible with God.
Another joyous part of Easter worship that I have to mention is that a couple who are longtime members of the church but haven't been able to attend for quite a while because of health issues were there today. It took great effort for them, but they made it. I cannot express how much that blessed me, and I could tell it was a blessing to many others, too.
The sermon was great -- a dramatic, first-person account from Peter's perspective about Christ's life, death and resurrection -- and the hymns included Easter favorites: "Up from the grave He arose! ... Hallelujah! Christ arose!" "Christ the Lord is Risen today, Alleluia." "I serve a risen Savior .... you ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart."
And so, what does Easter mean to me? It means I have hope. It means I am saved. It means nothing can separate me from the love of God. It means I am called to take up my cross and follow Jesus' example. It means even though I know and God knows I'll continue to fall short and never be perfect, He loves me and delights in me and offers me life forever with Him. It means He's with me as I strive to know and do His will, to His glory. And it means I have His joy and peace in my heart.