On Sunday morning while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. Â Â Â Â Â John 20:1 (CEV)
I was blessed yesterday as I worshiped and remembered my risen LORD. It was during a time called â€œThe Children’s Sermonâ€ that my heart was pierced and my spirit quickened. Let me just say that the woman who leads the children’s ministry is gifted in a way that every fellowship would pray they would have such a leader. Besides her joy and energy, she is gifted to bring Scripture to contemporary language and at the level child and adult alike understand. As children passed by her on the way back from communion, I observed almost every child gave her a shy smile, touched her hand, or even gave her a hug. So today, I am going to share with you what I heard and learned during this time.
There were many surprises happening on this Sunday morning 2000 years ago. The women came to the tomb bringing spices to preserve Jesus’ body from decay and its smell. A stone had been placed over this cave-like tomb and the women wondered who was going to move the stone for them. SURPRISE! The stone was moved aside and the tomb open.
They probably slowly and cautiously looked inside the tomb, uncertain as to what they might find. Would Jesus be lying there, desecrated by some evil person? SURPRISE! Jesus wasn’t there.
SURPRISE! Jesus may not have been there but there was â€“ two angelic beings (Luke 24, Matthew 28) who told them not to go looking for Jesus among the dead because He was alive!
By the way, when the children’s minister began her story, she popped up in front of the children and said, â€œSURPRISE!!!â€ Apparently at one of the services, she so surprised one child that he/she immediately began to cry and said, â€œI want my mommy!â€
When Jesus comes into my life, there are going to be some surprises. The night that I made my commit to Jesus, I was shocked to feel â€“ not condemnation â€“ but an incredible feeling that I was truly and unconditionally loved. SURPRISE!
I began to read the Bible voraciously and worship songs â€“ even the old hymns like â€œAmazing Graceâ€ and â€œThe Old Rugged Crossâ€ would make me weep as I sang. I no longer sang about my LORD but sang to Him. SURPRISE!
My children went from fighting and hating each other to loving siblings who even read the Bible together. SURPRISE!
My life did not suddenly become perfect. My father died. I was divorced a year later. And I lost many friends who didn’t understand the change in my life and didn’t want to get too close to â€œcatchâ€ what I had! SUPRISE!
Jesus disrupted my life. He is loving and very upfront about His desire to have a growing, intimate relationship with me. But Jesus says that loving God with all that I am and loving myself and my neighbor are the greatest commands from which everything else about being His disciple comes from. To me that means that the priorities of my life and how I live my life should reflect that. That is a daily journey as I seek Jesus’ directions and the Spirit’s guidance.
Jesus is alive and present in my life. That too is a SURPRISE to this ordinary Midwest woman who is lived by the extraordinary God.
Rise Again by Dallas HolmÂ