Some of you may be involved in the music ministry at your church. You are probably already practicing all the glorious Easter music. Are you comforted by what you’re singing? Some of you who have always participated in the choir or other worship music may be having a hard time with the music of worship most Sundays. I have known some habitual participants who have taken a “leave of absence” during their grief because of their raw emotions. It’s common for grieving parents to shed tears or be unable to sing certain songs because of the memories they induce or because of the message of the song. Nearly every parent can’t sing Amazing Grace because of the emotions generated by that great message of redemption. The music of Easter focuses on death and redemption. You have experienced death in a personal way. You hope for the resurrection and want proof. So Easter hits very close to home, close to your pain. The stories hit your sore spots and hurt, though the message is also your source of hope. I am not talking about bunnies and spring colors; I’m talking about the prayer in the garden, the trial, the mocking, the painful death – and the resurrection! Easter is an emotional time for bereaved people.
Let me encourage you to really put your heart into the next 5 Easter worship services. Listen to the messages of scripture leading up to the cross and resurrection. Hear how Jesus faced His own death. Hear how He wanted out of it but then yielded to His Father. See how badly others treated Him, but how he patiently kept going forward to a painful death. See how He focused on eternal things and on how this all fit into redemptions’ big story. Feel the Resurrection! Know He lives. Think about what that new life means to you now that you have faced death.
There is a lot of pain in Easter, as we think about Jesus’ painful decisions and about the physical pain He experienced. There’s pain for us as we remember that He did this because we’re sinners and need a redeemer. In some sense it’s because of us that Jesus was required to go this route. There’s pain just thinking about one fellow human going through this pain while another human being hammered in the nails! And seeing, thinking about death always causes confusion and psychic pain.
But all our hope is rooted in Easter – The Resurrection of Jesus. That one event does at least 2 things for us:
- It guarantees that there is life beyond the grave.
- It redeems all who confess ourselves as sinners. It “buys” our freedom from the penalty we rightly deserve in the courtroom of eternal justice. It gives us a ticket into heaven and the requisite robes of righteousness. We’re ready for the Celebration Banquet in heaven because of the cross and resurrection.
For me, this blog can only end with this thought: Hallelujah! So while you’re practicing Handel’s Messiah or if you get to hear it this Easter season, sing the hope you get from the resurrection, even in your grief. It’s for a time just like this that He died. Hallelujah.