Easter 2021 was different but also familiar. After not being able to gather together to celebrate our Savior’s resurrection in 2020, we were able to come together this year at Central Bearden. It was different…we were spaced out, we had to wear masks, we had to register to ensure we didn’t run out of space and make sure we were able to distance. Things were different. But that shouldn’t be the focus of Easter. Easter is not and never has been about the bright colors, the new clothes, the egg hunts, the Covid-restrictions, the “I wish it could be as it was”, or even the cute chocolate bunnies that we eat and instantly regret. Easter is about one thing: Christ IS Risen!
Yes, it was different. But let’s really look at Easter 2021 at Central! We had over 500 people attend in person! We had an estimated 400 people connect virtually! We had 900 people connect and engage with us on Easter Sunday!!! Now, let me stop you from thinking, “Oh, it’s all about the numbers”. It is not about achieving a mark with our attendance, but it IS about connecting and discipling and sharing the Gospel message of Christ. We had the choir back, literally filling the front of the church! We had families, couples, singles, teenagers, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers gather together both in-person and virtually to focus on and celebrate one thing: Christ IS Risen!
I quoted a song during the welcome in the 8:00 am service. The lyrics, penned by Elevation Worship say this:
“Saturday was silent
Surely it was through,
But since when has impossible
Ever stopped you…”
[Rattle! By Elevation Worship]
Have you ever stopped to think about that? Christ was crucified on Friday, a brutal death that was perfected by the Romans as a punishment. The fact that it is not the trauma of being nailed to the cross, but literal and slow suffocation that kills a crucified individual. Jesus Christ went there because of His love for you and me. Jesus Christ followed God’s will for Him to that kind of end. Painful. Brutal. Separating.
Then Saturday. Jesus is dead, buried in Joseph’s tomb, and it is quiet. The disciples are hiding, the Romans are guarding the tomb because the Jewish church leadership is afraid someone might steal Jesus’ body. Quiet. The disciples and many followers still in disbelief that the Messiah, the rescuer of Israel is dead. Silent.
According to John 20, Mary Magdalene – the same Mary who had demons cast out [Luke 8], followed Jesus during his ministry and witnessed the crucifixion – came to the tomb early in the morning and discovered no Roman soldiers, no stone blocking the entrance, and no body. She ran to get the disciples and upon her return, she has this experience:
“11But Mary stood outside the tomb, crying. As she was crying, she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 She saw two angels in white sitting where Jesus’s body had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you crying? ‘ ‘Because they’ve taken away my Lord,” she told them, “and I don’t know where they’ve put him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know it was Jesus. 15 ’Woman,’ Jesus said to her, ‘why are you crying? Who is it that you’re seeking?’ Supposing he was the gardener, she replied, ‘Sir, if you’ve carried him away, tell me where you’ve put him, and I will take him away.’ 16 Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ Turning around, she said to him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni! ‘ — which means ‘Teacher.’” – John 20:11-16 (CSB)
The Simple Truth
Here’s the simple truth! JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN!!! That is the central theme of Easter. That is the central theme to the lives of those who follow Christ. Our salvation is found in the fact that impossible does not stop God. Death, lack of money, pandemics, lack of resources…nothing is impossible for God! So as you continue to navigate life today, and tomorrow, and the next – remember this central truth: JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN!
Minister to Students & Families