This Easter, I will worship in a graveyard. I’ll admit that the first time it seemed odd- even inappropriate. We don’t think of a cemetery as a place of rejoicing, but as a place of mourning. Very seldom do we go there by choice, but rather as a result of an unwanted loss. And so it is a place marked by tears, heartbreak, and anguish.
But we will go, and we will sing.
Our family will enter the misty graveyard, long before the sun rises with a quiet excitement. We will greet other believers with broad smiles as we gather to celebrate victory over death. We can do this for one reason; He is risen!
We believe the Bible:
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
– 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Sometimes, the joy of a Christian appears to be due to lack of pain. The truth is, some of the strongest, most joyful believers I know have been forged from the greatest pain imaginable. It is in these times that we experience the life of our God as He meets us in our agony. We are reminded of His own suffering on the cross to pay our debt to sin. We experience, first hand, His infinite and unmatchable love and peace that can overcome the darkest misery. So as I worship, it will not be without grief or pain, but in spite of it. I will hold tightly the memories of cancer sneaking into my own family, of it ravaging close friends. I will praise Him for physical battles fought and won, and trust Him in the battles lost. I will pray for His healing to embrace those parents who have lost a child, children who have lost a parent, and spouses who have found themselves alone. It is because we have known pain, that we can know healing. Because we have been in the dark, that we recognized the light. I don’t know how others survive grief and loss without the assurance and hope of eternity, but for us, we know it is not the end.
And as we rejoice on Easter Sunday, we can do so in a cemetery. We can bring joy to a place of sorrow and remember the times He has replaced our fear with peace. We can rest in a hope that He not only defeated death, but our imprisonment to sin, and that in Him we can be free! We can worship as the sun rises and be reminded that His light can consume any darkness and that because He lives, we can indeed face tomorrow!
Happy Easter…He is risen!!!