Many are familiar with the beautiful poem, “Footprints.” In this story, a man dreams that he has a talk with Jesus about his life. Like all of us, this man had a life full of triumphs and tragedies, love and loneliness, happiness and sadness. And like all of us, he had a lifelong relationship with God that was at times close and committed and at times distant and unclear.
The man and Jesus were walking along a sandy seashore and having a conversation that reviewed that man’s life. The man noticed that many times there were four footprints in the sand as the walk of life progressed. Jesus explained, “These are the times when we walked together. The times you shared your life with me, and I stood beside you every step.” But the man became troubled when he noticed that in his most painful, dark times of life there was only one set of footprints. He questioned the Lord as to why he had been abandoned and left to walk those times alone. Jesus explained these times, also. “My child, the reason that you see only one set of footprints is because those were the times I lifted you into my arms and carried you because you could not walk alone.” All was explained to the man except the occasional places along life’s walk where there seemed to be many footprints going in all directions in a hectic pattern in the sand. Jesus smiled and replied, “My son, these are the times when we danced!”
This Easter, remember those marvelous occasions when you have rejoiced in life. Those overwhelmingly happy moments of life when your Lord “danced” with you! Take every opportunity to put on your dancing shoes!
PRAYER: Father – Help me to remember with joy marvelous moments in life, and help me now to “dance” with wonder at the blessing you give me.
Easter Sunday is past, but the story remains. The mystical story of life over death gives us hope and victory and rests our souls.
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!
Harry Emerson Fosdick tells this story: Some years ago a little church on the coast of England was ruined in a hurricane. The congregation thought themselves unable to rebuild. Then one day a representative of the British Admiralty came to the clergyman to ask if they intended to reconstruct the church. The clergyman explained why they could not do it. “Well,” said the representative of the British navy, “if you do not rebuild the church we will. That spire is on all our charts and maps. It is the landmark by which the ships of the seven seas steer their course.” A true parable, that! Never more than now, when the souls of men need divine help, stable and secure, strong, sustaining, and empowering, is the church’s message needed.
Though the hurricane of hell brought the sins of the world down upon the body of Christ, crushing the life from Him, that body was rebuilt on Easter. Today, the spire of the cross stands as our chart and map. Calvary’s cross is the landmark by which the church and its followers steer their course.
The day of resurrection?
Earth, tell it out abroad;
The Passover of gladness,
The Passover of God.
From death to life eternal,
From this world to the sky,
Our Christ hath brought us over
With hymns of victory.
Now let the heavens be joyful,
Let earth her song begin;
Let the round world keep triumph,
And all that is therein;
Let all things seen and unseen
Their notes in gladness blend,
For Christ the Lord hath risen,
Our Joy that hath no end.
——John of Damascus
Filed under Easter, Poetry
Freedom is cherished by every man,and the story I share today is about the endurance of a free spirit. There are many stories that emerged from the American civil rights movement, but this is one that speaks to the power of knowing that your cause is greater than you. When you are making a stand for a cause that drives you heart and soul, suffering is necessary and worthwhile.
Martin Luther King used to tell the story of Sister Pollard, a seventy-year-old African American woman who lived in Montgomery, Alabama during the now famous bus boycott. One day, after walking significant distances daily for several months, Sister Pollard was asked if she wanted a ride. When she answered, “No,” the person responded, “But aren’t you tired?” To which Sister Pollard answered, “My feets is tired, but my soul is rested.”
Resurrection living is moving beyond our fears and trusting that God is fashioning a way out of the difficulties of our lives. It is a celebration of a promise that a new world is unfolding. This leads us to affirm that our souls are rested. We will continue to face all kinds of challenges and struggles along the way; “our feets will be tired,” but our spirits will be strengthened through the presence of the risen Christ. This is the good news we celebrate every Easter. There is no tragedy that God cannot redeem, no dream- even the elusive dream of peace on earth—that the God who raised Jesus from the dead cannot energize and advance.
Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed!
- Christ the Lord is Risen Today! (dothisinremembranceofme.wordpress.com)
It had been a long three days. They had known the feeling of terror in the face of false accusations, the trauma of a mock trial, and the helplessness of standing by while a loved one was convicted of a crime he had not committed. Yet, this was only the backdrop for the deep agony of nameless, hopeless grief that would crash around them like a tidal wave when the one who had been son, brother, teacher, and savior was brutally killed. There is no making sense of such aching sorrow. The first days after such a tragedy found the women who were closest to Jesus in life wanting only to touch and prepare his body one last time in death. He had talked of resurrection. He had said that in three days he would rise. But it was not resurrection that was on the mind of those women. It was death. Imagine the moment of recognition when Jesus stood before them again. Imagine the elation of re-union. Imagine the radiant hope that followed those three days of pain. Imagine the faith that was kindled as a result of that “Easter” experience.
But the Easter story is not only an experience, an event. It is a way of life. The resurrection of Jesus created the hope in Christians that death is never the end — resurrection is. We not only look forward to an eternal future with the Holy One, we have the opportunity to experience Easter moments in the midst of our everyday lives. We know that death and sorrow stand nearby — whether it be physical death, the loss of a job, the loss of a relationship, the loss of a dream — but resurrection also waits to be noticed at the edges of our life. We have all known the wonder of a healing, a new job, a new love, a new dream being born out of the agony of hopelessness. Making Easter a way of life means that we are unwilling to settle for death in any of its forms. We are unwilling to give up hope and belief that new life is always being offered to us by heaven. We are unwilling to be ground down by grief when God’s goodness is extended to us. Making Easter a way of life means that we turn our eyes toward resurrection each and every day, searching for its signs, believing in its truth, living into its glory