Tears at Easter

I cried 3 times at Easter service today. Just last week, my friend asked if I am someone who cried easily, and I answered no. But this morning, sitting in church and listening to the service and Pastor Ed’s sermon moved me to uncontrollable tears. The first was when Pastor Ivan gave us some numbers: of those who came to witness The Final Hours; of those who prayed to receive Christ; and of those who rededicated their lives to Jesus. The numbers in themselves were amazing enough but more than just numbers, I know that every single one of those who came matters to the Lord. I am also aware of the hard work and effort put in by all who volunteered to serve in the production, and I could feel their hours of rehearsals and practice pay off in such a wonderful way. Indeed, these are the servants to whom the Lord will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

The second time I cried was during Pastor Ed’s message when he told us that the original plan for Station 8 (where we witness the Crucifixion of Christ on a life-size cross) was for only one person to enter the room where the scene was re-enacted. However, due to time and logistical constraints, 10 people were admitted at a time. Imagine that! You alone watching Jesus suffering on the Cross…but even then, with 10 of us squeezed into the tiny room witnessing our dying Saviour on the cross, I could feel the chills on my skin and the tremors of my heart. This was made even more poignant for me when the Roman soldiers ‘pushed’ us to stand even closer to the front, even closer to the cross, even closer to the horrific scene. And there above the cross was a video projector capturing images of us standing there and witnessing the scene.  This mirror image of us watching ourselves watch Jesus suffer on the cross reminded me in a shocking way that I was indeed present there in the crowd of people who shouted, ‘Crucify Him!’; that I was the one He came to die for; that I was the one whose sins nailed Him to the cross.

But the third time I cried was tears of joy, for the story thankfully did not end there. I recall that we had to wait for quite a while in the holding area after Station 8 before going to Station 9 (The Resurrection). But thinking back, that period of waiting was actually quite symbolic for me. Because I felt a bit like the disciples on that very Saturday after Jesus was crucified. What’s next?, they must have wondered. Our Teacher and Leader has died and left us here. What do we live for now?, they must have asked. Shall we return to fishing? Then this morning when Pastor Ed presented us with the evidence for the empty tomb and the risen Jesus, I just felt so thankful that I serve a living God who has defeated not only sin, but death – and even that, death on the cross.

Interestingly, today’s sermon brings my mind to John 19:5, the passage where Pontius Pilate presents a scourged Jesus, bound and crowned with thorns, to a hostile crowd and says these words, “Ecco homo”. In Latin this means ‘Behold the Man!’, but of course, what Pilate should have said was, “Ecco Dei” – “Behold Your God!” For Jesus the Man is also Jesus the God who chose to bear my sins on the horrible cross – and die for me.

Dali's famous painting entitled 'Christ of St John of the Cross'. For me, this speaks to me in a more personal way which is captured in the title of today's Easter sermon: "Behold Your God"

When was the last time you cried for the Lord?

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~ by irwin on April 8, 2012.

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