God is not surprised when we need something more than our own selves, and that is the whole foundation of the gospel. (Smith, Mandy. “Unfettered” pg 184)
Day 51 of Russia’s war on Ukraine. The head of the UN World Food Program says that the people trapped in the port city of Mariupol are starving to death. Mariupol has defied all odds and continues to present Russia with fierce resistance. But now that Russian forces have diverted away from Kyviv, they will eventually bolster their forces around the port city. Without outside aid, it is only a matter of time before Mariupol is fully under Russia’s control. While the world comes together to celebrate Easter this weekend, remember and pray for the brave people of Ukraine. God is with them, when the world is not, God is there now.
Today is Good Friday. The day the world takes pause to remember the brutalities Jesus suffered for all of mankind. Ridiculed, beaten, tortured, and nailed to a tree, the Son of God hung from the cross for six hours until He committed His Spirit to leave His earthly body. There was a great earthquake in Jerusalem on that day. The thick veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the Jewish people was torn in two from top-to-bottom. The longest day of humanity stretched on for what must have seemed like eternity for all those on Golgotha Hill. Jesus, hanging on the cross, His strength quickly waning, the hot sun beating down on Him until God caused a three hour eclipse to blot out the sun from the sky. Jesus’ mother, Mary, along with the other women that had followed Jesus throughout His ministry, all watching at the foot of the cross, begging God to send a miracle to save their beloved from that agonizing death. No one there that day realized they were watching the miracle unfold before their eyes. None of them would realize until Resurrection Sunday that Good Friday had to occur for Easter Sunday to be the world changing event the world was desperately needing.
Last night we began a new tradition at the House of Z with our children. We sat around our dinner table and broke a fresh baked loaf of Publix bakery bread, poured sparkling grape juice (wine for the adults), and talked about Maundy Thursday. We allowed our 10-year-old and our five-year-old to tell us the story as they know it. It was a wonderful close to a busy day, where I was blessed to be able to help two Easter egg hunts at two different schools (the first was my son’s pre-K class, the second was for a Community Engagement event with Savannah Police Department). We finished the night with an Easter event sponsored by the Police Department for all their officers and their families. It was a very special day.
The celebration of Easter is the greatest holiday in our Christian faith. I hope that you make it more about sunrises and resurrection and less about egg hunts and chocolate. Let us show all those around us the importance of this day as we recognize that without Easter, there is no Christianity, without Jesus rising from the dead, Jesus would just be another prophet and Judaism would still be waiting for their coming Messiah. But Jesus proved He was who He said He was: the Son of God, sent to die a sinners death to give us access to God on a relation level. Easter put a period on the three words that summed it all up: “It is finished.”
Spotify has two really amazing playlists up right now: Easter Worship, and another playlist simply called Easter. The worship playlist is really good, and skimming over the songs that are in the second playlist, both would be excellent soundtracks to this weekend. But for today, here is one last amazing new release that came out last Friday. Click the image below and hear this stunning melody from Rachael Lampa, a Christian artist who emerged on the scene in a big way at just 14-years-old way back at the turn of the millennium. This new song is the first time I have discovered her work, but I am excited to see what this amazing voice releases in this age.