More than the Lilies

The church was beautiful, set with lilies and décor for Resurrection Sunday. The congregation’s numbers were about double and the building was full of life and energy.  I raised my voice in praise and worship, listened to the pastor’s sermon attentively, and came away with a full heart, renewed in hope. Later in the day, I stood in the sunshine at the sacred spot of ground where my wife and family rest and gave thanks for faith’s assurance – “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.”  This morning, life goes on.

My meditation turns to the Gospel’s story of those two men who were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus discussing the cruel end of Jesus’ life. The Messianic hopes that His words raised in their hearts died with Him on the cross – so they thought.

Luke says “As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them. But God kept them from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing so intently as you walk along?” They stopped short, sadness written across their faces. Then one of them, Cleopas, replied, “You must be the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened there the last few days.” (Luke 24:15-18, NLT)  Who among us has not been in that place, our bright hopes in celebration smashed by the ugly reality of life?

Then we read that they went to get dinner and when Jesus took bread and gave thanks, their eyes were opened. The unbelievable was true, Jesus was alive. “And within the hour they were on their way back to Jerusalem. There they found the eleven disciples and the others who had gathered with them, who said, “The Lord has really risen!” (Luke 24:33-34, NLT)

The transition of the Bible’s story from the Gospels to the Acts is a pattern for us even today. The disciples did not celebrate the Resurrection and go home to carry on their ordinary lives under the next anniversary of the day. They found a mission in life that rested squarely on the new reality of human existence.  

The Kingdom of God had invaded the world, brought life to the dead!  Oh yes, in the days that followed their encounters with the Resurrected Lord they struggled to find a new way. It took some time to regroup and refocus. Peter went back to fishing in Galilee for a while, until Jesus met him on the shore of that lake and renewed his commission. But when their emotions settled and their faith grew, they pivoted to live with mission and purpose.  

Jesus “presented himself alive to them in many different settings over a period of forty days. In face-to-face meetings, he talked to them about things concerning the kingdom of God. As they met and ate meals together, he told them that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but “must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me. John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon.”

When they were together for the last time they asked, “Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?”  He told them, “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.” (Acts 1:3-8, Message)

Christian friend, let’s take that challenge for living today.  Instead leaving the holy day and great promises behind until the next Easter, let’s pray with hearts of faith to live as ambassadors of His Way. Wait expectantly for the Spirit’s empowering Presence.  We serve an unchanging Christ in an ever-changing world. He will, if we surrender to Him, lead us into a future that may be quite different from the life we expected to live. 

Those ordinary men that followed Jesus had no idea that they would become messengers of a new Kingdom come in their world but when they were filled with the Spirit people who found courage to speak to crowds, to endure persecution, and ultimately many died for the Name of Jesus.  

The same Spirit is promised us and on this day after, the next logical step is to invite Him to empower us for Kingdom living. Let’s turn our thoughts to Pentecost, the  celebration of the Spirit’s coming on those first Christians!  Pentecost Sunday, when we mark the outpouring of the Spirit, is June 5.  However, we can pray for the Spirit to fill us now.   

Today, ponder this word from the Word and pray for the fullness of the Spirit, that we will be led into His purpose in the days ahead. But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power and will tell people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, NLT)  “And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 13:52, NLT)  The world waits for people full of God’s grace, love, and hope to bring the news.  Easter is about more than the lilies! Believe. Love. Let your light shine.

(Video of this blog at this link)
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Rattle!

Saturday was silent
Surely it was through
But since when has impossible
Ever stopped You

Friday’s disappointment
Is Sunday’s empty tomb
Since when has impossible
Ever stopped You

This is the sound of dry bones rattling
This is the praise make a dead man walk again
Open the grave I’m coming out
I’m gonna live gonna live again
This is the sound of dry bones rattling

Pentecostal fire
Stirring something new
You’re not gonna run out of miracles
Anytime soon

Resurrection power
Runs in my veins too
I believe there’s another miracle
Here in this room

My God is able to save and deliver and heal
And restore anything that He wants to
Just ask the man who was thrown
On the bones of Elisha
If there’s anything that He can’t do
Just ask the stone that was rolled
At the tomb in the garden
What happens when God says to move
I feel him moving it now
I feel him doing it now
I feel him doing it now
Do it now do it now

This is the sound of dry bones rattling
This is the praise make a dead man walk again
Open the grave I’m coming out
I’m gonna live gonna live again
Open the grave I’m coming out
I’m gonna live gonna live again
Open the grave I’m coming out
I’m gonna live gonna live again
This is the sound of dry bones rattling

I hear the sound (I hear the sound)

Live (Live) live (live)
Dry bones hear the word of the Lord

Live (Live) live (live)
Live live live live

Brandon Lake | Chris Brown | Steven Furtick

© 2020 Brandon Lake Music (Admin. by Bethel Music Publishing)

Music by Elevation Worship Publishing (Admin. by Essential Music Publishing LLC)

Maverick City Publishing Worldwide (Admin. by Heritage Worship Publishing)

Bethel Music Publishing

CCLI License # 810055

2 responses to “More than the Lilies”

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