Resurrection Dawning: An Easter Portrait

image_pdfimage_print

Happy Easter!

That does not seem good enough to express how Easter should make us feel though, does it? Happy is good, but it fails to capture everything Easter means. How can we ever say enough? How can we articulate everything the Resurrection is and everything it represents, not only for us as believers, but for the entire world? The simple answer is, we can’t. We simply do not have the words. We do not have it in us to tell the story better than it has already been told. Scripture tells the story with words and images and power. It tells us of the bruised heel and the crushed head. The sinless lamb slain for the sins of the world. Powerful imagery that we cannot hope to top.

So, instead of trying to do the impossible, we have chosen to simply add our voices to the throngs of past and present believers that have proudly proclaimed the joy of Easter. We hope what little we have to contribute will be a blessing to you on this truly blessed Easter morning.

Ethan - age 11
Ethan – age 11

I am astounded just as much by the incredibly long working of God’s plan of salvation as by the final culmination of the saving acts of Jesus. I have already talked in The Moral Essential of Being how there was a whole lot of time involved in the road to salvation before the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. In fact, God said he was making plans before the world’s timeline even started. And when time did begin, Jesus was there and involved in that act of world creation. John 1:1-3 says the Word (Jesus Christ) was with God and was God in the beginning. And it wasn’t just Jesus who worked the centuries-long plan. The other two members of the trinity—God the Father and God the Holy Spirit—were also there and were equally as pivotal in the long work of salvation.

Although it may be the most important piece, the role the incarnate Son of God played between His human birth and His final ascension into heaven wasn’t His final piece of the puzzle. And the Holy Spirit’s role certainly did not end with helping conceive Jesus in the womb of the virgin Mary. Nor did the hand of God the Father withdraw after the work of Christ on earth was done. The three persons of the godhead are still completing the Easter story today and forevermore.

It is true that right now there are still burrs and bellyaching and holy outrage in this earthly life even for Christians. But on Easter day we are celebrating the beginning of a redemption and renewal of all things toward a time when all the imperfections of life will be no more. Revelation 21:4 tells us that in that glorious, final day God will wipe away our tears. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. All the burrs and bellyaching and holy outrage will ever after be a thing of the past. I long for that day.

– Ben Plunkett

Aidan - age 13
Aidan – age 13

The thing about Easter is that it was so empirical. We talk about faith all the time in Christianity, but that word must be quantified by history and evidence and transmission. Make no mistake, the fact that the early apostles saw the resurrected Jesus is crucial to the story.

Over and over and over in the book of Acts you find the disciples emphasizing the word “witness” to describe resurrection (Acts 2:32, 3:15, 5:31-33, 10:39-41, 13:29-31, 26:16).  It mattered to picking Judas’ replacement, evangelism and so much more. Jesus and Ananias in Acts used the word “witness” to refer to how Christians would share Christ with others. (And while we witness based on what we believe today, they witnessed based on what they saw.) In 2 Peter 1:16, Peter uses the word “witness” to attest to his words being fact. And Luke begins and ends with eyewitnesses being the source of his Gospel, book-ending the story of Jesus by emphasizing empirical proof. Additionally, the Apostles creed in 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 says four times that Jesus “appeared.” The focus on this fact is vitally important to our faith.

But Jesus said something to Thomas that I think we need to remember lest we bemoan the fact we were not so “Blessed” to see Jesus just as they did. In John 20, He told Thomas that “You believe because you see. But blessed are those who do not see yet still believe.” Our belief is not blind, but neither is it without testimony that was verified by sight, sound, smell and touch. I believe Jesus walked the earth, died and rose because of my faith. But not without evidence.

And this and every Easter I don’t want to try to bring God down to my level, but neither do I want to check my mind at the door as I worship. What I know effects what I feel. I have broken down and cried numerous times thinking about those 11 men and countless others giving their lives for what they saw.  And that is why Easter is so special.

– Gowdy Cannon

image2
Wesley – age 6

Humans were never created for death.

When my Aunt Lisa was tragically killed in a car accident leaving a husband and two young boys, I couldn’t believe it. I was in college away from home, and my grandma told me the news over the phone. “No!” I replied. “This isn’t real,” I thought. I’ll never forget seeing my precious grandma who had lost her daughter saying to the casket, “I’ll see you later.”

The next Sunday at church, my grandma requested the hymn “Because He Lives.”

My sister-in-law died from breast cancer in 2015, less than two weeks after a confirmed diagnosis.  She left a husband and three very young children. I still responded, “No. This can’t be real.” Her memorial service was simple. Songs. Poetry. Scripture. A beautiful tribute by her best friend. It still seems unreal that Bethany is not here.

The speaker at her service used Truth and reminded us mourners, “Things are not always as they seem.”

Humans were never created for death, and maybe this is why it doesn’t seem real when it happens.

Humanity chose death. To sin is to choose death, but God became man to die in our place, to redeem all of us. Because of His sinlessness, death could not stick. Death is the payment for sin, and He had never purchased it. We get to choose Jesus’ death for our sins and Jesus’ perfect, righteous, sinless life for our own lives. We get to choose eternal life.

This sacred holiday reminds us HE LIVES!  Screams to us that death is not the end! Proclaims hope when tragedy attempts to suck it away.

Because HE LIVES, we can face tomorrow.

We were never created for death.  And though humanity chose it, God made certain through His own sacrifice and resurrection that we have another choice.  A choice at life.

Happy Easter!

– Amy Lytle

Wesley - age 6
Wesley – age 6

I want to be an Easter person.

I love Easter, but I do not love it enough. I am a Christmas person. I love that time of year. I love the lights, the decorations, the music, the food. I love the reason behind it all even more. The story of the Nativity is miraculous in its depth and power. For whatever reason, I have never felt that same pull for Easter. And that bothers me.

My wife has been a big proponent of making Easter a much bigger deal in our home. We are even planning to scale back on Christmas so we can do more for Easter each year. I want my children to recognize the singular importance of the Easter story. Without it, we have nothing. Without the death, burial and resurrection, we are without hope. Perhaps by focusing on it more and talking about it more and celebrating it more we will show our kids its great importance. I hope it works for me as well. I want to be an Easter person.                    

– Phill Lytle

Denkie - age 17
Denkie – age 17

I recently heard that Christmas points to Easter. Jesus was born to die so that he could defeat death. I don’t normally like thinking about Christmas songs outside the month of December but here I make an exception. This is a watercolor painting inspired by a few lines from Joy to the World. “No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground, He comes to make his blessings flow, Far as the curse is found.”  This is an abstract that flashed in my mind as I pondered “Far as the curse is found.”  However far the ever-reverberating echoes of the fall can branch out, the resurrection overcomes–as far as the curse can be found!

Brandon AtwoodFullSizeRender-1
Have a wonderful and happy Easter!
The Rambling Ever On staff

Staff

We are staff and we are legion.

10 thoughts on “Resurrection Dawning: An Easter Portrait

  • March 28, 2016 at 3:57 pm
    Permalink

    Very good, all. Powerful words and imagery. Great truth conveyed, and I was/am blessed. Thank you for lifting my spirit and reminding me again of the centrality of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

    Reply
  • August 8, 2016 at 8:52 pm
    Permalink

    I feel this may be in the top five things we’ve done on the forum. Really wish more people had read and viewed it. Although I am extremely proud of all of the writing, the artwork alone by Phill’s kids and Brandon are worth it. Definitely my favorite of Brandon’s artwork. I’ve had it as my computer desktop background since Easter. Love it.

    Reply
  • September 3, 2016 at 7:28 pm
    Permalink

    By no fault of my church or parents, until I was in high school or college I somehow missed how the Resurrection was possibly the most important part of that first Easter weekend. Before that time, I considered the death of Jesus itself as the only truly important part. I was so, so wrong. Although Jesus’ death certainly is very, very important, the Resurrection might be even more so.

    Reply
  • April 7, 2017 at 9:18 am
    Permalink

    This is still, easily one of my favorite things we have ever published.

    I want a full size copy of Brandon’s painting to hang up in my home.

    Reply
  • March 10, 2018 at 11:36 am
    Permalink

    Upon re-reading this, I am again challenged, encouraged, and blessed. My kids and their friends are wordsmiths. I love the grandkids’ pictures.

    Reply
    • March 10, 2018 at 2:45 pm
      Permalink

      I love it too! I love the paintings.

      Reply
  • March 12, 2018 at 2:00 am
    Permalink

    Love this post!! Son, looks like you could make some selling your painting!

    Reply
    • March 12, 2018 at 2:02 am
      Permalink

      Oops, the money bag pic didn’t show up the first time!!

      Reply
    • March 12, 2018 at 11:34 am
      Permalink

      I would buy this painting for sure.

      Reply
      • March 12, 2018 at 12:14 pm
        Permalink

        I still have this painting as my desktop background.

        Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *