(Let us ignore the fact that I am a day behind the deadline of actually saying I posted this on Easter)
On December 31, 2012, I somehow got a fortune cookie with this fortune in it. Instead of doing the normal thing of reading a fortune and tossing it away, I decided to scribble down the date and put it in my wallet for safekeeping. The day I received this fortune was during the last day of the Urbana conference I went to over winter break, and I just cannot seem to remember where/how I got a fortune cookie during Urbana. But I suppose that’s okay because this fortune actually held up to be true!
I flipped open my wallet during some time this past week when I was just incredibly bored (most likely during BEPP lecture…) and found this fortune tucked away. I did some heavy calculations and realized that the date mentioned in this fortune was to fall exactly on Easter Sunday! Hehehehehe….I had some expectations for what today would entail for me.
By the grace of God, I somehow got out of bed this morning at 6:30 am so I could meet with some other freshmen who were walking over to the “sunrise service” this morning. I stumbled out of my top bunk, drowned in the shower, and struggled to put on nice clothes and look dapper. I had to retie my tie six times because I kept messing up… BUT I MADE IT ON TIME SORTA. About a handful of us moseyed on over to the park and worshiped the Lord with the sun rising on our faces (I exaggerate. The sun was hiding behind a cloud, as per usual in Philly…). But figuratively, the son was indeed rising (SEE WHAT I DID THERE). It was very calming and peaceful for me to be able to make the first real thing I do in the morning to find myself enveloped in a community of passionate believers seeking to know God and just simply worship. I worshiped in the crisp air of a waking city the Creator who gives me true life and purpose. Pastor Dan gave a short sermon about the apostle Thomas and his reaction to Jesus’ resurrection and how in the end, when Thomas finally believed Jesus was risen, he simply proclaimed:
“My Lord and my God!” - John 20:28
I found myself simply uttering the same exaltation to God out of a lack of any other words I could use to tell Jesus to be Savior and Lord of my life. I tend to forget that second part: Lord. Jesus is Lord over my life just as much as he is my savior. Throughout this school year, I have been drawn closer and closer to this truth: that Jesus is asking more from those who accept him as Savior–that we obey Him out of a genuine love and faith. I think back to how Jesus often purposefully placed his disciples in weak, powerless situations so they would come to realize that it is only through Jesus they live. And I think of 1 Corinthians 1:28-29, in that God uses the lowly things of this world, the things that are, to nullify the things that are not, so that none may boast.
Regular church service this morning though was by far another wonderful experience where I could feel that the Holy Spirit was leading me and the Church around me to worship God. Right from the beginning, when we broke into O Happy Day, an enormous, uncontrollable smile broke out across my face because I had never before been so blatantly reminded by God that Jesus is risen indeed! And when Paul Baloche’s version of Hosanna started, I came to appreciate the power of fellowship in bringing others to genuine worship (it is one of Rhobaby’s songs that he expressed really pumps him up to praise Jesus). It is a small example yes, but because I knew this song would bring him closer to God, it made me also closer to God. Word. Community….
Through the rest of the songs and the blessed, God-breathed sermon Pastor Dwight delivered, I realized that in my heart there was no doubt, but, instead, only an overflowing of joy at the true life Jesus lets me now live. As I stood in the front pew, I could not help but just feel so pumped up and awestruck by how awesome our God is and how great His love for us that He sent Jesus for us– for me. Never before had an Easter been so real to me. I was completely floored. It seems that as each week passes, as I pursue God earnestly, He answers me directly in return. Never had I loved God with all my being so much as I had last Sunday. But with this Easter, not only did a fortune cookie’s promise come to fruition, but so did God’s promise:
“that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6
As the tears and snot dribbled down my face into my smiling mouth, I realized that God will never fail to teach me more, humble me more, and love me more than I could ever want. Everything that I was feeling in my mind and heart culminated into that one verse from that one song:
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus ’tis now.