Easter Memories

Easter Memories

Easter Sunday holds a prominent place in my childhood, church-going memories. The smell of Lilies. New clothes. The Easter bonnet my mom wanted me to wear and that I hated. Easter breakfast after a sunrise service. Traditional church service. All good memories.

As an adult, Easter memories still rest strongly in my mind. Same smell of Lilies. Spring colors. Easter hymns like “Crown Him with Many Crowns” that I’ve never not known. Easter dinner followed by a rather competitive egg hunt at the in-laws.

Outside of the usual Easter routine are several Easters spent away from home, including one on a mountaintop at sunrise in Vermont. Another involved the first half of the day riding in a car traveling home to Michigan from Missouri. No Lilies. No Sunday best attire. Worship via the radio (one of the songs was “Crown Him with Many Crowns), and McDonalds for Easter dinner. We did make the annual hunt though.

As I grew and matured, Easter eventually evolved from a once-a-year Sunday celebration to a year-round sense of purpose. Celebrating the risen Christ exists now as a way of life, a year-long state of mind rather than a capstone day in the church year.

Ticket to Heaven

A lot of the same elements still exist, but my view of the reason behind the celebration itself evolved away from simply a focus on the objects that represented it. I no longer only saw Easter as just a day to acknowledge that a far-away God sent his Son to die for my sins. I began to see beyond simply having a ticket to heaven.

Today, Easter now represents a relationship with Jesus.

Reasons for Change

Over the years, experiencing struggles and letting Christ lead me to victory in and through them matured my faith. Faith remains a simple but crucial act of the spirit. However, it now lives in a maturing state as the Holy Spirit’s leads and guides into the relationship that now permeates my existence.

My view changed also because worship changed. Some songs stayed the same, yet my participation exists very differently today than in my childhood and even early adulthood. Increased involvement in worship somehow increased the depth of the Easter message.

My understanding of God’s love for His Son also grew when I became a parent. Would I sacrifice one of my sons to save another person’s life? No, I wouldn’t. Yet, God did just that. Being a parent gives some inclination of how much He loved me to give up His only Son. Something I would never do.

My Best Friend

Somewhere within all this change, I realized Jesus also wanted to be my friend in addition to being my Savior. In other words, Jesus became a real person in my life.

Jesus became my best friend as my view of Easter grew. This satisfied a deep longing I remember having even as a young child.

I’m not sure I can adequately express what Easter now means to me or how it exists as a state of mind rather than a yearly holiday. All I can do is share this testimony and invite others to open their hearts to the transforming power of the Easter story too.

10 thoughts on “Easter Memories

  1. I think the challenge I've seen as I've gotten older is not being cynical. I've seen the big Easter crowds, I know most people go to church on Easter Sunday. It's difficult for me to celebrate knowing that many of those attending don't care, or are just there for appearances. This year I had to get my heart right before going to church, since I wanted to celebrate, I wanted to enjoy the day. I wanted to enjoy my relationship with Christ and the fact that He rose. With his help I was able to. I loved the service, I loved the people, I loved the celebration.

    • Boy do I get that battle. So many people in my Christian family throughout the years have turned out to be hypocrites, and I have had a tough time getting over the hurts. Getting your heart right is so important before going to worship because it allows you to focus on serving and worshiping Him rather than on your own hurts and needs. He is so faithful to help us when we submit to Him. Thank you for sharing this testimony. It definitely blessed me!

  2. Pingback: Are You A Part of This Story? | A Curious Band of Others

  3. I love your comments about Jesus being your friend now. I think we toss out that language a lot, but really feeling that is totally different. My wife was raised in a different denomination, a "stuffier" one if you will, and she never heard the concept of Jesus being a friend. It was eye-opening to her when she realized that.

  4. I linked to you through Tom Tarver, who I call my Texan brother. we were both pastors in Richland Center for several years. We have memorable Maundy Thursday story we share with a laugh….cell phone at communion table…mine…

    I too have seen my worship and the meaning of Easter change. This year I was on the road in a semi, using praise and worship music, scripture, a story of my days as pastor when I did a dialoge as Mary Magdeline, and prayer, as I enjoyed the beauty of God’s creation as my worship.

    Yes, I have learned that anywhere my body is, there I can worship God, give praise to Christ, intercede for others, pray with thanksgiving, and know God’s peace beyond my imagination.

    God knew the desires of my heart and has granted them over and over in many different settings. I appreciate your sharing your journey. Thanks!

    • Having God come alive in the beauty of nature has been one of the significant reasons my faith has grown over the years, and it is also the reason I enjoy visiting new places. Makes me not mind being away from home on Easter quite as much. Though I will say that I am feeling "off" after missing two Sundays in a row, though that doesn't have anything to do with Easter. Thank you for visiting my blog. I appreciate your insight and perspective, especially from the point of view of a pastor.

  5. I think it is so important to see Jesus not only as the Risen Savior but also as a Friend. "A man lays down His life for his friends." I get that. I crave that. As for the worship, I'm glad God can be honored in all forms but I prefer the more contemporary form. I think it tends to "lean away" from making things rote.

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