Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter-He Is Risen!

Most of you who have known me these last four years have read my blog posts on what a special holiday Easter is too me. This year, I had some unique experiences that showed me a different perspective on this celebration-the aspect of peace.  The second event chronologically, but first since it is easier to explain, was watching the recent movie Risen.  It's the story of a Roman military tribune, and his experiences in Jerusalem around the death of Christ, his involvement in sealing the tomb, and his search for Jesus' body and what he discovers in the end. Seeing this movie really made me realize what knowing Christ can do for a person.  rabbit trail*And it made me realize (once again) that Jesus raising from the dead was true.  I'm in engineering. I know and love science and facts.  But no matter what opposing view is presented, the clearest, most understandable explanation is that Jesus did rise from the dead. *end trail
The first event chronologically but second in my telling happened with a friend.  There was a significant crisis, and I had an active role in helping through it, so was very close to the entire situation.  But shortly after it began, I realized that there was tremendous fear in my friend's heart.  And it kinda shocked me.  I've faced the thought/chance of dying more than once, but never have I been as terrified as he was.  And I realized, that I have a peace in my heart, that the world [in general] doesn't have! I have a peace that no matter what comes my way.  That doesn't mean I don't get anxious, or worried, or even scared at times, but underneath those emotions is a trusting comfort that my God is in control of every situation.
So this Easter Sunday, do you have peace in your heart? No matter what may happen with elections, or shootings, or weather, or sickness, or anything-do you know that you have an overwhelming peace in your heart that will let you face any situation? If you have this peace, do others around you sense and see that in your daily life?
Jesus faced a really hard time in choosing to die, but he had the peace that he was in the midst of his Father's will.  One of the favorite classic hymns is "It Is Well".  My favorite memory of singing it was with my cancer support group at Parkside Church.  Every person there sang it with such conviction and happiness, yet each one there had been directly touched by cancer.  I don't know if you know the back story to that song, but the condensed version is that the author had lost a lot of investments and properties to the Great Chicago Fire.  While trying to salvage his financial affairs, he sent his wife and daughters on ahead to take their planned trip to Europe.  However, while crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank and his wife alone survived.  Later, while visiting near the sight of where his four daughters drowned, he wrote these words:

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
A song in the night, oh my soul! 

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