Dear Cornerstone Family,
I have many childhood memories of Easter growing up in a pastor’s home. It was always one of the most festive times in our church calendar. Much like Christmas, it was the time when the attendance would spike and we had to bring out the extra chairs. It was always fun to watch the procession of deacons carrying chairs and placing them in every available space as the excitement built for the arrival of our church family.
My mom would always lay out the dress clothes on my bed for me to wear. Easter was a big deal and the selection of my clothing was meant to show it. It was the time you brought out the polyester three-piece suit! Mine was a beautiful muddy-brown color with wide bell-bottom trousers. To top it off, I had fake leather shoes to match. It was quite a sight, but I will never let you see the picture. Just trust me, it was a sight to behold!
It was also the time when the choir loft was full. It was always interesting to see the loft swell each Christmas and Easter. It was like a homecoming: families would gather for the special occasion and finish Easter weekend together in church, and former choir members enjoyed the reunion and the wonderful music. To celebrate, the finest hymns were chosen for the occasion. This was when the organ was played the loudest, accompanied by many special musicians that were brought in for the occasion.
To hear all the people singing praise to God would often make me a little teary. Have you ever had that experience, where you just couldn’t sing because you were overcome by emotion? I would often just stop singing and close my eyes and listen to the voices. I’m getting a little choked up about it as I write this. It made me wonder what it will be like in heaven.
In Revelation 5, the Apostle John said he looked and saw the elders and the living creatures and the angels, numbering myriads and myriads and thousands of thousands singing a new song with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” I am looking forward to joining them in that song.
There was always a lot of preparation that went into Easter Sundays. Easter lilies would fill the sanctuary with their aroma and their bold color. The details of the service were pored over with the greatest of care. Every hymn, every prayer and even every word was prepared for the occasion. All week long I would watch my dad prepare. I would hear his manual typewriter striking the page with one letter after the next as they became his notes for the sermon. I would see him in his office chair reading, thinking, preparing, and praying. Like any pastor, you choose the words and illustrations to hopefully and prayerfully make the Word of God resonate in people’s hearts. We know it is the Holy Spirit that moves through them and uses them to reveal Christ to all who hear them. My dad always worked hard to convey the meaning and purpose of the resurrection of Christ.
I usually drove with my father to church each Sunday. He would enter his study and I would go and make sure the lights were on, the doors were unlocked, and the bulletins were ready. Soon the building would buzz with the arrival of our church family. Everyone was wearing their Sunday best. I noticed many other mothers did the same in their homes as in our home. They laid out the right attire for such a celebration. There was a lot of polyester back then. Then it would all begin. The voices would fade and the room would become quiet as the music would begin and the fanfare of Easter engulfed us. We were bathed in beautiful music, beautiful prayers and beautiful words. My father would then enter the pulpit and begin to preach and he would tell us about the meaning of Easter and our need for a personal relationship with Jesus.
Jesus was always the center of our Easter services. Everything culminated in the story of our Savior, and then at the end of his sermon, my father would tell us that the celebration of Easter should never stop. The meaning of Easter is to be celebrated in our hearts each and every day. What Jesus accomplished for us through his death, burial, and resurrection was so vital to his followers that they began to gather on Sundays instead of Saturdays for corporate worship. Each Sunday they celebrated the meaning of Easter.
As you gather with your family this weekend, when you lay out your Sunday best and either join us in person or online, it is our prayer that you will have Jesus at the center of your life each and every day. That’s the true meaning of Easter.
He Is Risen,