Liturgy: “I will not die, but live!”
Easter is now imbued with new meaning. It is no cute holiday. It is the turning point of history – and my life.
What is the King’s Liturgy? King’s Liturgy defines our experience together as a Christian community. It outlines the rhythms we celebrate with the Church at large: Scripture readings, Sabbath habits, and celebration of Holy Days and historical events.
This week’s liturgy is contributed by David Leedy, Dean of Students:
“David, what does Easter mean to you?” That was the question Steve, my resident assistant my first year in college, asked me on Easter Sunday as we walked across the expansive Purdue campus in West Lafayette, IN. Steve had invited me to go to church with him that morning.
Normally, I would have declined the invitation. Three years earlier, while a sophomore in high school, I attended a church service (under compulsion from my girlfriend’s parents). I hated it and swore that I would never go to church again. But I was intrigued by the authenticity of Steve’s faith, so I agreed to go.
But Steve’s question confounded me. Having grown up in a home devoid of religious observance, I had never considered the spiritual significance of Easter. I perceived it as a holiday for children, complete with colored eggs, candy baskets, and cuddly bunnies. Easter’s real meaning was lost on me.
Not wanting to expose my ignorance, I turned the question back on Steve – “What does it mean to you, Steve?” He proceeded to explain to me that Easter was about Jesus rising from the dead so that we could be delivered from death and experience life in him. “Interesting stuff,” I thought to myself. But, even if true, I had other priorities in life to pursue.
Days later, I had a horrendous nightmare. I dreamed that I was in a deadly car wreck. Bystanders pulled my crushed body from my smashed car. I lay dying beside the road. Suddenly it hit me like a ton of bricks – “I am going to hell and will spend eternity there separated from God in darkness and misery. I had the opportunity to say yes to Jesus and the life he offered me, but I chose to say, ‘Not now.’ And now it is too late.” I was engulfed in utter despair and dread as I faced the ominous reality of hell; I let out a blood-curdling scream.
I woke up with my heart pounding, profoundly relieved that it was only a dream – but acutely aware of my need to reckon with the Easter message Steve shared with me. Within days, I made the decision to commit my life to Jesus Christ.
Easter is now imbued with new meaning. It is no cute holiday. It is the turning point of history – and my life. It is also an invitation to exuberantly celebrate the glorious reality that we have been delivered from death and raised to newness of life with our Lord Jesus Christ. “I will not die, but live!” declares the Psalmist (Ps. 118:17).
Mary Magdalene, failing to comprehend the reality of the Resurrection that first Easter morning, was in tears. So the angel asked, “Why are you weeping?” (John 20:13). The implication was, “This is no time to weep, this is a time to jump for joy – if you grasp what transpired this morning.”
If we tune into the reality of Easter, the fitting response is celebratory dancing and jubilant shouts of praise. “Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous. The Lord’s hand has done mighty things!” (Ps. 118:15).
“This is the day which the LORD has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps. 118:24). Tune into the reality of the Resurrection this week and let your heart be filled with joy.
(Originally published April 17, 2017)