Hope Rises

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see where He lay.” – (Matthew 28:1-6, NIV)

After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God’s angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn’t move. The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as He said. Come and look at the place where He was placed.” – (Matthew 28:1-6, MSG)

 

The more I dig into the scriptures to unpack the details of Holy Week, the more I notice things that either have escaped me previously, or that I had somehow forgotten over time. This morning, after reading about Jesus’ resurrection in all four gospels, I had a moment of “Wow, how did I miss that before?”  In Mark, Luke, and John’s telling of the resurrection, the accounts each begin AFTER the stone had been rolled away. So, what does this matter, you ask? For me, this added to the already miraculous resurrection, as Jesus had risen and left the tomb BEFORE the stone was rolled away. In the same way that He “appeared” in the locked room where the disciples were meeting after all of this had taken place, Jesus had “disappeared” from the tomb, only to “appear” before Mary in the garden by the tomb. Next, Jesus “appeared” to the two disciples along the road to Emmaus, then among the disciples gathered in the locked room, and later at the Sea of Galilee, where He reinstated Peter, as well as in a variety of other places and spaces to teach and equip His followers before He ascended into Heaven. (Read John 20:11-21:25 for specifics) For me, this is a reminder of the incredible power of Christ. We, in our frail humanity, cannot begin to fathom the power held in the hands of our Creator. The very same God who created heaven and earth, bore the sin of the world to redeem all humanity, and then rose from three days dead. Beyond that, He lived and loved and touched and equipped those around Him further, before He ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father, where He is ever moving on our behalf. It is no wonder they say that “Hope Rises.”  It does indeed. Christ rose. The sun rises each new day. As the weight of fear, suffering, sin and sorrow are laid at His feet, we are empowered and strengthened to rise. I wonder if that is why God created day and night the way that He did. Each morning as the sun rises, we have the opportunity to be reminded that the Son rose for us; new hope, new help, every single day. May we embrace the truth that HE HAS RISEN, and allow hope to rise in all of us on this glorious Easter morning. Let the world rejoice, for hope has risen, HE is alive!

 

 

Imagine the tomb, Statements of Praise

Cold, lifeless and still;

Guarded, protected,

O God, what’s Your will?

All of a sudden,

The earth starts to shake;

Terrifying light,

Moves the stone away.

From atop the stone,

A voice then declares;

“Do not be afraid,

He’s no longer there.”

Guards frozen in fear,

Ladies look in awe;

Just grave clothes remain,

This scene that they saw.

What He had promised,

Had now come to pass;

Jesus had risen,

Our hope that shall last.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to live and love, to die and rise again, so that we might know the hope that is found in You alone. Thank You that today is a day to remember how powerfully hope rises, as You rose up out of the grave and defeated death for our sake. Forgive us for forgetting the power held in hope that rises, for You have the power to resurrect anything. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our hope, strength, light and life. Show us how to love well, all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we look into the empty tomb and see that the Son has risen for us anew, so that we may know hope in You. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. – Psalm 33:20

 

*If you need an Easter service to join, please join me at Grace Church, 10am, PST. ❤

Good and Faithful

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever. – (Psalm 136:1, NIV)

Praise the Lord because He is good. His faithful love will last forever. – (Psalm 136:1, ERV)

Let everyone thank God, for He is good, and He is easy to please! His tender love for us continues forever! – (Psalm 136:1, TPT)

 

Yesterday was a fantastic day, full of reminders of the Lord’s goodness and love. Together with my husband and our eldest boy, we spent the day exploring Vancouver in the very best way. We began at the aquarium, which has much to see outdoors, enjoyed lunch outside at the aquarium, and then determined we ought to explore Stanley Park. At first, we drove through much of the park to discover the lay of the land. As we were driving, we spotted a sign that said “Pitch and Putt”. It piqued each of our interests, and we found parking and the source of the sign. The next three hours were spent in the sunshine, playing eighteen holes of golf with only a pitching wedge and a putter at a par three course. We followed a family of five from England that had kids about the ages of our own sons, and enjoyed friendly banter back and forth whenever there was a wait between holes. The trio that followed us were wonderful as well, as they were local college students that had great suggestions for dining and outing activities during our stay. For me, I was overjoyed because we were outside, in the sun, smiling, laughing, and enjoying each other in beautiful surroundings. Once we finished, we headed back to our Airbnb house to get changed to go out for a delightful dinner. It is a joy to driving into an unfamiliar city, and take everything in. Joe Fortes did not disappoint, as we had excellent service, delicious food, and kind and lovely exchanges with those seated around us at the oyster bar. And yes, each of us tried an oyster for the first time. Surprisingly, we all agreed that they were pretty good. Following our fabulous feast, we determined that a wander around town would be wise. We walked several city blocks, taking in the sights and sounds, and incredible variety that can be found in such a small square area. Leaving the city center to return to our accommodations, we caught the tail-end of a gorgeous sunset as the colors faded upon the water. It was the perfect end to a fantastic day, and McKale (our eldest) certainly felt well-celebrated as we all closed the day. Just as his dad and I delighted in finding activities and places that would bring him joy, so too does our Father in Heaven for us. May we give our good God thanks, for His love endures forever.

 

The Lord God above,img_2019-08-25_06-44-312722813625352872790.jpg

Is loving and kind;

Forever faithful,

He has us in mind.

It is only right,

To give Him our praise;

For His faithfulness,

We can trust always.

To truly know good,

We must know the Lord;

For He is the Source,

Where love is outpoured.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and that Your love and faithfulness last forever. Forgive us for the times that we do not give You the praise for the good in our days, as every good and perfect gift come from You. Teach us to recognize Your blessing in our days, and to be quick to give You our gratitude. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they too, may come to understand the faithfulness that is forever found in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You praise for Your goodness and faithful love that last forever. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! – Deuteronomy 32:3