Each Easter I imagine that many of us look for fresh lessons to learn. The Easter story is the most wonderful event in world history and it should never fail to astound and astonish us. But this year I got an avalanche of surprising insights.
When the district women’s society planned an all night prayer vigil for Maundy Thursday night until Friday morning I was filled with mixed feelings. I liked the idea but, honestly, I was not sure I would be able to make it through the night. I have always been very sympathetic for the disciples who could not stay awake after a full day. But I committed myself to at least try.
We began the night with a personal confession time out under the night sky. Scenes I had only imagined before suddenly felt real. As the night wore on I thought of Jesus’ agony under the very stars that he spoke into being. It was easy to feel the blackness of the hour when Jesus’ friend betrayed him. I could almost see the disciples slinking off into the shadows filled with fear, confusion and shame. Then as the hours wore on, in a seemingly unending monotony, I felt the heavy darkness that must have fallen on all who saw the Son of God, mocked, whipped and beaten. As the morning slowly dawned the sense of impending doom still hovered as I mentally noted the events to come such as the crowds yelling for his death, the carrying of the cross and the spikes piercing his hands and feet. The rising sun did not dispel the gloom.
I anticipated Easter morning in a new way. I had no idea what other surprise was in store. Tom walked into the house that morning with an engaging smile and said, “You would never believe what happened this morning. The sheep had a baby lamb! And you would not believe how white it is.” We did not even know the sheep was pregnant. I ran across the heavy dewy grass to get my first glimpse of a pascal lamb!
“Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”