The Hope & Hurt of Easter

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A million miles away
Your signal in the distance
To whom it may concern
I think I lost my way
Getting good at starting over
Every time that I return

I’m learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?
I’m learning to talk again
Can’t you see I’ve waited long enough?
Where do I begin?

Do you remember the days,
We built these paper mountains
And sat and watched them burn?
I think I found my place
Can’t you feel it growing stronger?
Little conquerors

I’m learning to walk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?
I’m learning to talk again
I believe I’ve waited long enough
Where do I begin?

(Walk by the Foo Fighters)

Easter Sunday 2015 (two days ago as I write this), I preached about the Resurrection—about hope.

In this sermon…

• I made oblique references to my own struggle of pain and heartache. I talked about Martha’s words to Jesus after Lazarus had died.
• I spoke of my reactions—of stomping my feet and shaking my fists—of demanding answers from an otherwise silent God.
• I committed the Hara-Kiri of clichéd Christianity by unequivocally stating God does not always show up on time. And from Martha and Mary’s perspective as well as ours, that is often the case.
• I mentioned the words of a Jeremy Camp song I once heard and tried to sing along with at a double funeral a few years ago… there will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears. There will be a day when the burdens of this place, will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face…

On Easter Sunday 2015, I sucked up my pain and lived by my own words. I gave Jesus all my hurts and fears. I claimed the hope of the Resurrection as my own, because there will be a day!

And it was a good day. I wasn’t the smooth communicator I wanted to be as I stood before such a nice crowd. But, on the other hand, my words were authentic and so was the desperate desire to communicate the only real source of strength…

But all that was Easter Sunday 2015.
Two days ago.

Since then, the rush of Easter has passed.
The adrenaline of the day has faded.

Two days after Easter, I still cry…
I cry over my losses.
I cry over the ache of my family.
I cry because even in my hope, the pain will always be there.

And that brings me back to the hope of Easter.

Easter is about new beginnings, reboots, and fresh starts.
It’s about learning to walk and talk again.

Easter is about our shared pain, our shared hope.

My favorite Bible verse is found in the story of Lazarus’ resurrection: Jesus wept.
And he did.
I believe He still does.
His tears mingle with mine.
His tears mingle with yours.
And though we hurt and weep together, in the story of the Resurrection, we find hope.

Together.

I lift my eyes toward the mountains.
Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
(Ps 112:1-2)

May the Lord be praised,
for He has heard the sound of my pleading.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.
Therefore my heart rejoices,
and I praise Him with my song.
(Ps 28:6-7)

Together!
Les Ferguson, Jr.

4 thoughts on “The Hope & Hurt of Easter

  1. “I committed the Hara-Kiri of clichéd Christianity by unequivocally stating God does not always show up on time.”

    Love it!! Being a funeral director, those cliches need to be put to death.

    Sure looking forward to meeting you in a couple of weeks at Malibu!!

  2. It occurred to me yesterday, David, Job, and the whole of Lamentations, I can raise voice and even fist. But I have long had a relationship with God to where I hold nothing back. Swearing, blame, crying, utter and sheer failure, facing my own end…is the hardest one I HATE (and He knows it).
    But it’s no mistake I fully believe, where each time David, Job and the like, balance out what their their eyes or physical body tells them, with what their spiritual mind knows
    Of God – versus – Lamentations just ends, and we are just left ending with ourself.
    God, as a parent I know, knows He must do this each time, with each of us, and over the centuries, each time, He feels our pain EACH TIME as we lash back out in tears…or fists…and He waits for us to finally have nothing left. Only enough left to say the words …”but by the Grace of God…” Because I can’t see how. Imagine a space of air between two pieces of rope – or at least I see it this way. It’s that space God asks me to be willing to yield myself so he can take over.
    Fast switch: sure, some have read and know and have heard this, and say it. Some even try to short cut to it.
    Nu-uh.
    Doesn’t work does it?
    Ev-er-ry sing-gle step has to be gen-U-Ine.
    I happen to be going through THE absolute worst time of my life. Seriously. People shake their head and ask if it’s legal, some of what’s going on – yep, it’s legal and no one can’t stop any it, except God, and he’s bringing miracles. To us, for us, and in us. We are being changed in the processed too. We are seeing some definite “only God does this” level events. Yet going through it has been physically a train wreck.
    If you read this, no matter how low you feel, how empty, or if you think Gid abandoned you, GOD IS REAL AND HE DOES NOT ABANDON ANYONE WHO CALLS HIS NAME, humbly asking for salvation & wisdom.
    I can’t imagine the utter, sheer, magnutude of grief, pain, fist raising, emptiness, hopelessness, yet something in them held…Mary and Martha held on. Three excruciating days. Past time if when belief someone could be revived physically (according to their times). They could not be comforted either. In their minds, they were dead to, I suppose, would not be off the mark. So to then, see a miracle, of this kind?? Astounding…
    I’ll toss out one more tid bit I also received:
    If Jesus can be raised from the dead. -and we SIMPLY believe we can also be saved and go to heaven? HOW MUCH MORE

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