*Disclaimer: The following post is NOT a promotion of weekend vacations/getaways in place of going to Sunday church, but an acknowledgement of praising God when you are unable to attend His house.
Every year, I have always gone to Easter service at my church where I am a member. I may not love getting up super early, but I love worshipping my risen Savior. However, this year I didn’t get to go worship at my home church. My family did something different, and at first, I balked at the idea.
It’s really hard for my mom’s side of the family to get together. We all live in different cities/ towns and operate on busy schedules that hardly ever align up with the other members of our family. So, this year they voted on spending Easter break in the mountains.
Not that I didn’t want to spend time with my family, but I was hesitant to spend Easter morning anywhere but my beloved church.
I prayed about it. I complained about it. Prayed some more. Complained to my mom. Then I got over myself and focused on how to worship as a family without being surrounded in a church building with pews, a cross memorial, an altar, choir chairs, stained glass, etc.
My grandparents and uncle’s family come from a Lutheran background while my family are members of the Baptist church. Both are still a part of Christianity, but have a few differences in structure. We are all used to different traditions, so my next step was figuring out how to create something unique for our family’s dynamic.
I talked to my grandfather and he agreed to let me lead the devotion for Sunday morning. I texted my uncle and brother, asking them both to bring their guitars. My uncle was in charge of finding a worship song. Additionally, I asked everyone for their favorite Bible verse. The planning was well under way.
When Easter morning came, I felt unprepared despite all my planning up until that point. All I had was a Google slides presentation and my Bible. I hadn’t rehearsed or made in-depth notes (to be honest, I had been distracted with school work). Even though the audience was going to be my grandparents, parents, brother, boyfriend, uncle, aunt, and two cousins, I was nervous.
I said a quick prayer before beginning:
“Lord, I feel inadequate to present this devotion on the day we recognize and celebrate your Son’s resurrection. Send me strength and let your Word speak through my mouth. Amen.”
The sun was shining through the windows of our makeshift, cozy little church. I started our service off with Matthew 18:20:
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Well, we had eleven on Easter morning. Church was in session.
And from then on out, I delivered a devotion with some God directed improv. I went off script, and somehow threaded it all together by combining my family’s favorite verses into the resurrection story, which I read from Luke 24: 1-12.
“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.”
The favorite verses and the resurrection story fit together because it all came from God’s Word. The giant love letter He gifted to us all. The Old and New Testament thread together, seamlessly and beautifully.
After reading the above passage, we zeroed in on the last sentence: “He went home marveling at what had happened.” We may not have been there in person to see the empty tomb, but we believe. We believe He rose on that third day. We believe the grave could not hold Jesus down.
And we marvel at the continuation of miracles God sends us everyday. As I looked around the living room Easter morning, I saw the faces of miracles in my life. The ones that encourage me and keep me going. I may not have been able to attend my church service at home, but I grew closer to God in my faith with my family this past Easter weekend. It was just what we needed as a family to worship our Savior. This Easter will always stand out in my mind when I think of my family vacations.
We ended “church” with the song “Here I Am to Worship,” played on the guitar by my talented uncle and brother. Our Easter festivities concluded after our scavenger egg hunt in the rental mountain home, because the eggs always come in second to the cross.
I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter weekend celebrating our risen Lord!