by Dale Grubaugh
Howdy folks! It’s Easter and this here is my story:
Easter was always a big time at our house when I was a youngin’. All the city kinfolk would come for the weekend. There would be lots of food and fun. We kids would help color the boiled eggs and be a snoopin’ around, lookin’ for the candy stash, hopin’ we could sneak a peek (or a taste of the goodies that would be in next morning’s baskets).
Ever’body got new Easter clothes fer the occasion. New dresses, new hats, dainty little gloves and white-strapped patent leather shoes fer the girls. And we boys would get new shirts, pants with a sharp crease — and new shoes that really hurt.
Then it was early to bed on Saturday night because we were all headed to church the next mornin’ for sunrise service. The little country church we attended always had an Easter sunrise service with a full breakfast afterwards. We would all pile into the cars — shiny in our new clothes — and off to church we would go.
Now it would be a real Easter parade when our clan showed up fer church that mornin’. I loved those sunrise services; there always seemed to be something extra special about them.
We’d sing some of those great old hymns of the faith: The Old Rugged Cross, Up From the Grave, He Arose, He’s Alive. And then the preacher would preach.
It was during one of those early Easter services that I began to understand that Easter wasn’t about new clothes, colored eggs or candy.
Nobody was singing about or talking about those things. No sir, they were a talking about Jesus. Easter was about a new life in Jesus Christ.
But what was that?
The sermon that day was entitled, The Dawning of a New Day and it is the only sermon I remember from all the years I attended that church! Reverend Porter talked about the women who came to the tomb that first Easter morning after the crucifixion to finish the burial preparations on the body of Jesus. They went seeking the dead but discovered the Living Lord instead.
Reverend Porter talked about how the discovery of the Risen Lord changed their lives and is changing lives still today. He talked about how God turned their sorrow into joy, their darkness into light, their despair into hope. And how we too — through faith in what God did — could have that same experience. So it was God’s new day which brought new hope and new life!
It is a free gift.
God did all the work. Through the death of His Son Jesus, we are cleansed from our sin. Through God raising Jesus from the dead we have the certainty of eternal life.
All God asks is we accept this free gift by accepting Jesus as our Savior. It wasn’t until a few years later that the seeds planted that day came to full maturity in me. As a teenager I came to faith in Jesus Christ. God later called me to be a pastor and proclaimer of His message.
The message is this: In Jesus Christ God offers us new life, a new life plan, a new hope, a new future, a new destiny and a new eternity! And that’s what this season is all about. Happy Easter.
Originally published APRIL 3, 2010
Photography by Joshua Heston, Drury-Mincy Conservation Area, Taney County, March, 2018