Monday, March 24, 2008

Up From The Grave He Arose! - Clemons

Monday, March 24, the day after Easter and I would be remiss if I didn’t make it the theme of my writing. With respect to the Gregorian calendar, Easter came early. The soonest the holiday (or rather, Holy day) ever appears is March 22 but the last time that happened was in 1818, and it won’t happen again until the year 2285. But even having Easter on the 23rd is rare. The last time was in 1913. Easter won’t be celebrated on the 23rd again for another 220 years. We should consider ourselves fortunate to have experienced it. No one alive today (at least in the physical realm) will see it again.
Every Easter, in the small town of Orangeville, ON, we honor a tradition called “The Walk of the Cross.” On Good Friday, all the churches in the area meet together at 10:00 a.m. to have a communal time of worship. We lay aside our differences and lift our voices in praise to the Lord and receive communion, yes, Baptists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Methodists, Anglicans, Lutherans, Covenant, Alliance, non-denominational, independent, all of us breaking bread and worshiping together. Then at 1:30 we meet in the parking lot of a local shopping mall and a half dozen men and women hoist a giant wood cross on their shoulders and the body Christ walks in unity down Broadway, the main street of town.
This is the church at its best, glorifying God and proclaiming to the frustrated motorists who have to wait until we vacate the street, that Jesus Christ is Lord!
We have something to proclaim. Mohammed, Buddha and Confucius may have founded some of the world’s major religions, they may have exuded wisdom and enlightenment and have garnered the loyalty of billions of followers, but they all share one thing in common, they’re all in the grave. Only Jesus is risen; only Christ our Lord was victorious over death!
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-57.

Our past is forgiven, our hope is sure, our future secure, and all because Jesus rose from the dead! He is our ransom, our redeemer, our spotless Passover lamb. He has taken our sins and nailed them to His cross, His blood shed that we might be reconciled to God. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 Amen!
Adam, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, “...all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, and embraced them...God having provided some better thing for us...” Hebrews 11:13& 40

Yes, dearly beloved, in the year of our Lord 2008, we have received the promise and God forbid we not pick up our cross and arm-in-arm with our fellow believers march through the streets proclaiming “Christ is Lord!”

Glory Hallelujah! He is risen!

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