I didn’t go to church today. Yes, on Easter Sunday we did not go to church. I’m a heathen. I get it. We really haven’t gone to church with any regularity for, um, the last 3 years or so. I know, I know…
But I did have a very wonderful sunrise service all of my own this morning. After my husband left for work I sat on our front steps with my coffee and watched the sun come up over the hills. It was really beautiful. And everything was just nature. No cars went by, no people, no radios. Just the sounds of birds and the creek and the steers chomping on grass. So I sat and had my time with the Lord. And I would put that up against most corporate worship any day.
Once the kids were up and had their breakfast of bacon and pancakes remotely shaped like bunny heads, we had our own church service in the living room. My favorite gospel is the Book of John so that is what I turned to when I began to talk to them about the meaning of today. I flipped through the book, skimming the descriptive paragraph headings to find the beginning of the story of Easter. But as I got to His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane I stopped at a passage that I had underlined in chapter 17. Jesus had been praying for his disciples but he also goes on to pray for “those who will believe in Me through their word.” (John 17:20 NKJV, emphasis mine)
Which means, He prayed for me before He went to the cross. He prayed for my children and my husband and for people that I don’t even know and some that I don’t even like. We were on his mind before he undertook the rest of the Easter story. Before the rest of the events we know so well took place, He was feeling the weight of our belief and praying for our lives. That twists something inside my heart when I think about it and it’s both sorrowful and beautiful. It’s a binding of my heart to His, a connection to Him that is as tangible as any I ever felt.
I mean, here He was, in the Garden, knowing what was in store for Him, praying that if there was another way, please let it be but accepting God’s will and preparing Himself for it. The human-ness of that moment is a stark contrast to the etherial, miracle-working Jesus that can be, at times, hard to connect with on a personal level. He was scared. And in the midst of that fear, He still thought of His followers across the span of ages to come. It just blows my mind.
So that was our Easter service this morning…we didn’t even get to the rest of the story because I felt like this little gem of a verse gets lost in the preamble and yet holds so much of what we should know about those events. I wanted my kids to know that they were on His mind and He thought of each of them before He went to the cross. His hand is in each of our lives, has been since before we were thoughts and cells and the drawing of breath. He is not vacant from our day to day, He doesn’t sit aloft and watch the clockwork spin and tick. He is a personal savior, involved and invested, and we are tightly bound to Him by cords of faith and deeds, mercy and redemption. A point He drove home with that verse and 3 nails.