By: Commissioner Debi Bell
Are you old enough to remember this 1960s song by Ralph Carmichael? (Maybe it is retro enough to make a comeback with a new arrangement. Hint.)
In the stars His handiwork I see,
On the wind He speaks with majesty,
Though He rules over land and sea,
What is that to me?
I will celebrate Nativity,
For it has a place in history,
Sure, He came to set His people free,
What is that to me?
Till by faith I met Him face to face,
and I felt the wonder of His grace.
Then I knew that He was more than just a
God who didn’t care.
Who lived a way out there and
Now He walks beside me day by day.
Ever watching o’er me lest I stray,
Helping me to find the narrow way.
He’s Everything to me.
Words from that song have been bouncing around my head as I contemplate Easter: “Sure He came to set His people free, what is that to me?”
Yes, people celebrate Easter, it comes around every year, and we retell/recall the events of Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Once in a while, someone will make a movie that captures the events of Passion Week that help us be grateful for what Jesus did. Then, like other holiday decorations, we pack Easter away until next year. Almost as if we say: “I will celebrate Easter for it has its place on the calendar; but what is it to me?”
Easter should impact the way we live and mean more to us than merely being a holy holiday. Paul challenges us with these words:
“If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death – and the worst kind of death at that – a crucifixion. Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth – even those long ago dead and buried –will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.” Philippians 2:1-11 (Message)
Salvation Army Southern Territory, how will Easter change the way you live and serve this year? Will you allow the redemption story to seep into every corner of your being? Allow Easter to tune up your spiritual life. Allow Easter to touch the way you love and treat your enemies and your friends. Allow Easter to reignite a passion to lead the lost to Jesus and pray for the salvation of the world. Please do not pack Easter away this year. Jesus did not give His life away just so we can have a holiday. Is He everything to you?
Then live like it matters.