Thursday, April 9, 2015

Resurrection Weekend

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

I hope your weekend was as full of blessings as ours. We had a wonderful time at our church activities Saturday afternoon, then had dinner with my family that night. We had a beautiful service Sunday morning, then lunch with Kelly's side in the afternoon. Then Sunday night was Crossway's concert, "Overwhelmed", where all our family besides the two littles were part of the drama. It was a busy weekend, but so very happy. All of it was a blessing to my heart, and I was thrilled to have all the reminders of what Christ did for me, personally, on that cross. Even more so, that the debt is paid, and that He is coming again! Praise you, Jesus!!

The kids had a blast with all the activities. Crossway did something a little different this year. They had us walk in Jesus' footsteps as a family, then go for a little egg hunt. It's not a big thing to me that churches have egg hunts. I love watching the kids scramble and squeal in excitement. But honestly, I do sometimes feel that the true meaning of the resurrection is paled because of it. However, this year it was not so at Crossway.

We began our walk with Palm Sunday. The kids were encouraged to color giant palm branches laid out on the floors on blankets. While they colored, the story of Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem was told. Some teenagers added some fun by asking the kids what they would have been shouting, and then they taught them some cheers that they would have been chanting! "Jesus, Jesus, He's our man! If He can't do it, no one can!" LOL, it was pretty funny watching Canon roll his eyes and inform the girls that he was NOT going to color - or cheer!

Jesus' cheerleaders! 

The next room we entered portrayed the Last Supper. It was dimly lit with a long, low table set under a canopy. The kids were each handed some bread to eat, and then told about how Jesus came to Earth to be a servant and that He led by example and washed His disciples' feet. Then the storytellers had the families wash each others' hands and feet. What an awesome moment! It was very simple, not solemn and holy exactly, but still very touching to my mama heart. Seeing Kelly use a wet wipe and washing our children (I was wearing Cadie, so couldn't really participate well) was so sweet to me. They giggled when it was their turn to wash Daddy's hands, but it was still really cool.

Then we entered the Garden of Gethsemane. The storyteller had the kids lie down like they'd fallen asleep, and then a Roman guard came in and arrested Jesus! Castle got a little upset, but he made it through.

Castle didn't want to go to sleep! LOL!

We then walked the difficult road to Golgotha. The kids heard how our savior was beaten and mocked, and they touched a crown of thorns. They couldn't believe how long and sharp the thorns were...things were really becoming real to them. They were handed a piece of candy that was very sour...but as they sucked on it, it became sweet. And we walked out to see the sweet victory that was awaiting us.

And then, glory of glories, we came to the tomb! Joseph of Aramathea and Mary Magdalene met us there, and they were overjoyed to let us enter the empty tomb. The kids were told to take a sheet of paper, right down a sin they had been struggling with, and place it in a bowl of water. When they stirred it once, the paper completely dissolved, reminding them that when we confess our sins, God makes them disappear as if they never existed. He separates us from our sins as far as the east is from the west. Hallelujah, we are so grateful!

As we finished up the tour, they were told to go and hunt for their treasures, but to remember the "sweetest" thing about Easter is Jesus. I loved this egg hunt more than any other we've ever done. It was quieter, less crowded, and they only got 8 eggs apiece. But their deeper understanding of the crucifixion and resurrection was evident by their smiles and chatter.

The family gatherings were a blast this weekend, too. I love that we can get together and enjoy one another. It's not always been like that, at least on my side. There have been years of tension and frustration, hurt feelings and more. But God has done a work in us, and I'm thankful for the restoring power of Jesus' love. We are family, and good or bad, we are there for one another. I pray our children see that, and that they grow closer every day, every year, far into their adult lives. I love my sisters and parents, and I'm glad we make the time to gather together. It's much easier for Mom and Dad to just have a few of the kids at a time, but they do enjoy having us all under one roof...if only for short periods of time! ;)

Casey, Tiff and the girls joined us for Sunday lunch. It's always a treat having them all. It used to be the norm, but busy lives have made it much less often the last year or two. I think this was the second time we've had them over since the girls were born! Unfortunately, it started raining before we finished lunch, so the kids had to make do with hiding their eggs indoors. Not nearly as much fun, but hey, it's for the candy! They had a great time, and it ended all too soon since we had to get to church for the concert.

They made bracelets
Best Friends Bracelets

I am so glad Mrs. Tess and Bryan asked our family to participate in the drama. Connor wasn't the most willing participant at first, but he ended up having fun with it. I was the woman at the well, Kelly was a disciple, Chloe was a mourner for Jairus' daughter, Connor was a follower of Christ, and Canon and Caleb were part of the "little children" who Jesus said "Let [them] come to me." We were only in the beginning part of the concert, so when we finished up, we went and changed our costumes and went to find seats - not an easy task. The church was packed to overflowing! So we snuck into the cry room and watched from there. (Ssshhh, don't tell on us!) Brother Mark put together a beautiful program as usual. I am honored to be a part of a church and choir who praises the Lord with such passion, dedication and abandon. I haven't been as active in choir this year, first for being so late in the pregnancy, then having a newborn. I can not wait to get back and feel the Spirit's presence when we raise our voices to Him together.

So, there is our Resurrection Weekend review. I pray that you each had a taste of the bitter and the sweet. We can not take joy in our salvation without remembering the price Jesus paid for it. And we are all the better for remembering. Blessings!

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