Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. It will only be the 3rd Easter ever I've spent away from my family, making it look a little bit different than it usually does. I still have a brother who's only in the 5th grade, so Easters in our family have always included egg hunts, grassy baskets, lots of candy, lamb-shaped cakes, and child-like wonder. This year, my sweet family is 500 miles away, so tomorrow will feel a bit bittersweet. There won't be eggs to hunt for, or an adorable "lamby-cake" to enjoy. Instead, me and the hubs will make a big, special breakfast, and celebrate Resurrection Sunday with the in-laws at our incredible church. And I've been praying this week that the reality of what Easter means, away from the fluffy, saccharine, candy-floss coating, would really just smack me in the face this year like never before. So, on that note, I wanted to share this with you. Almost exactly 5 years ago, I felt very moved to write this story - a perspective on Easter that I hadn't thought of before. It's a little long, but if you have the stamina, check it out. I hope it gives you a fresh perspective too. It may be Saturday tonight, but Sunday's coming!
~ ~ ~
The greatest moment in the history of the world. The ultimate turning point. A dramatic changing of the tides. The moment that, literally, changed everything for the rest of time as we know it on a cosmic level. The biggest surprise ever conceived. God never ceases to amaze me with his sheer enormity; when I was young, I saw God and the devil in some kind of raging cosmic battle. Though I always knew the victory
belonged to the Lord, I visualized war field where sometimes God would win, other times the devil got some points for himself, but the struggle was immense. Now that I'm grown, how relieved I am to know of my wrongness and God's greatness! Try to wrap your minds around this; even the devil's most ingenious schemes are deeply embedded in God's greater plan. These are not semi-equal adversaries we're working with here like characters in a superhero movie; this is the almighty creator of the universe against nothing but a slighted, whiny, power-hungry created being. Which brings me to the greatest moment in the history of the world; a climax that could only be topped by Christ's triumphant return. So what is it? In many Christian circles, we may here answers like the birth of Christ, the immaculate
conception, the crucifixion, and especially the resurrection. While these near the top of the list, they're not quite where I'm heading. So let's go there. Picture with me the scene from a perspective you
may never have thought about before...
A chilled wind has picked up suddenly, and onlookers clung more tightly to their thin cloaks throughout the throbbing crowd. The sky is gray, not unusual for this time of year, but there is a new, fearful heaviness as the clouds roll in more thickly than they'd ever seen. The emotions vary from person to person; some are weeping, others cursing, and still more are indifferent or confused. One figure though, one lone, hooded figure, is possibly the only observer absolutely reeking with delight. Though it's only early afternoon, it feels as if dusk has long since fallen away, and that suited him just fine. Finally, FINALLY, after centuries of planning, after so many infuriating failures, the so-called Son of God would be a problem he no longer had to suffer. How desperately he had tried to snuff this infestation out before it even started, and what did he have to show for it? He had grown dangerously tired of defeat. But none of that mattered now; in matter of moments, it would all be over. For good this time. How ridiculous the Almighty had been to try and save them this way; in all of his eons of musings, our observer could never quite wrap his mind around why He cared so fervently for these quivering insects. Ungrateful, slobbering, ugly imbeciles, each and every one of them! And He had had the audacity to stamp them with His very image. As if they deserved it! It was almost too much for our observer's proud heart to bear. In fact, it was quite too much for his proud heart to bear, which is why he is here in the first place. You see, he had once been the embodiment of beauty, and so very near to the Almighty that he could reach out and touch Him. But it hadn't been near enough, and it had been his eternal downfall. The fact that these peons had received not only His beauty, but His love, was enough to earn them an eternity of vengeful hatred. Joy did not come to our dark observer often, but today was a very special day indeed. At the sight before him, it was all he could do to hold back his laughter; the Man's flesh was so torn and bloodied that He was almost unrecognizable, and a crown of horrifyingly pointed thorns had been driven deeply into the flesh above his eyes. Our observer chuckled to himself, pleased at the delightful irony. While others pushed and shoved through the masses to get a closer look, the observer was quite content with his chosen spot; he could see quite well enough from here. Besides, his work here was almost complete. It was almost disappointing how easy it had been; he had carefully observed the disciples for quite some time, and Judas proved to be an achingly uncomplicated mark. The plan had worked flawlessly. The only surprising hitch in the betrayal was Jesus himself. For the last 33 years, the observer had been careful to keep a safe but watchful distance from the shatteringly powerful King, his only defenses, after all, being deception and lies. Naturally, he had been prepared for an incredible fight in the garden that night, but, shockingly, none came. The Carpenter had simply went with His captors without struggle or might, which had brought the observer's only short-lived moment of pause. The feeling had passed, though, soon enough, as the rest of the well-oiled plan played out beautifully throughout the night. Everything was going swimmingly, and it was now climaxing in the Carpenter's long awaited doom. Finally, the Righteous Man lifted his head and let out a tremulous cry toward the heavens. The crowd was visibly shaken, and with a frightening suddenness, the candle of day was snuffed out. Cries rang out all over the hillside, and, even more startlingly, the earth began to violently shake. The communal terror was palpable, and panic quickly consumed. Fear pleased him; it was, of course, one of his very favorite tools, and this moment of fear was one of the most delicious yet. The observer's excitement was now nearly visible; the brass ring was brushing his fingertips. Soon, so very soon, it would be finished. Suddenly, as quickly as it had been snuffed out, pale, gray daylight broke through the dense canopy of cloud, and it was obvious to all that He was dead. For good measure, one uniformed guard thrust a spear into his side, to be absolutely sure that the deed was done. The rush of fluids was the final confirmation. As they began unceremoniously taking the Carpenter down from His lofty resting place, the disciples were unmoving in their shock and grief. The Man's mother clung desperately to one of them as they shared silent, empty tears, and other women fell prostrate at His side, weighed to the ground by their emptiness and sorrow. For many that day, their most treasured hopes had come to a crushing and unexpected end. The observer, however, paid these things no mind, for he was already well on his way back from whence he came, a sickly smile contorting his already unfortunate face...
...Deep, deep in the darkest recesses imaginable, so far from the presence of The Most High, was a celebration the likes of which most would never wish to see. Drums, of every size and rhythm, beat with an ungodly fury and shook the heated walls of stone, echoing for ages through the cavernous distance, completely drowning out the cries of the condemned. Countless beings of unimaginable terror, representing Earth's every fear and vice, threw their bodies in movement and triumph, with little rhyme or reason dictating the steps. The cavernous space was at once sweeping and stifling; if one looked either up or down, no end could be seen to the chasm in either direction, but a darkness that could be felt with every sense so saturated the air that it was almost impossible to draw a breath. This stifling darkness, however, didn't seen to effect the feverish beings in the slightest. They danced tirelessly, no doubt driven by the victory of the ages. Only one figure managed to remain still among the chaos; the observer stood tall, surrounded by joyous servants, his dark heart overflowing with enough haughty pride and satisfaction to burst it. He was larger, much larger than the others, in fact he actually seemed to be expanding by the moment.
The pounding of the massive drums intensified to an almost unbearable pace, shaking the cavern to a frightening quake. The dancers dizzyingly circled the observer at an maniacally increasing clip, not missing one feverish beat. In pure, adulterated self-adoration, he lifted his face and arms to the gaping darkness and began to let out the beginning of a fierce and terrifying war-cry of victory. He had won. After millennia of desperate battle, and enough lies to shatter countless generations of pathetic men, the victory was finally his. He pounded the keys of death and hell against his chest in magnificent fury. They belonged to him now. The cry grew louder, terrifying in its mounting intensity, as the observer contemplated the glory that was now his and his alone. From this moment forward, each and every
one of the dirty, insignificant souls of men would be his to condemn. The dancers joined in the glory with chants of their own, building and layering sound over sound until the chorus was one of deafening terror. The nefarious choir grew louder and louder, surrounded by the beating drums and led by the now enormous observer, when, suddenly, something changed. The cries continued to swell, but in a new and more frightening way. Suddenly, so suddenly, the deepest reaches of the cavern shook far more violently than ever before, until the walls began to crumble and debris showered from above. The observer was
unshaken, but the dancers sensed a disturbing change. One by one, they stopped singing, and one by one, the dancing ceased; the drums beats faded into the darkness, and yet the fierce cries did not fade away. The observer's cry was met, joined, and surpassed by another's, something foreign and yet terrifying to the beings in its vague familiarity. The quaking was now too much to bear, and the frightful
beings scattered, terrified, in any direction they could. Only now did the observer come far enough out of his pride to realize that something was very, very wrong. His battle cry abruptly ceased, but another cry,
the unknown cry, did not. In the distance, the sharp, crushing sound of ripping chains and twisting metal fell upon the observer's ears, and he knew instantly and with great apprehension that someone, somehow, had destroyed the massive gates. This was not right, and for the first time, the observer felt fear.
Every inch of the endless chasm flooded with a light so pure and blinding intense that the observer could not hold open his eyes. Not that it mattered. Light like this doesn't require eyes to see. It flowed and pulsed from its Source in ever increasing waves, filling every crevice with a spectrum of color and glory. The light whitewashed the stone walls with its glorious heat, as only the presence of the Almighty can. The observer was now flat on his back, eyes now forced wide with the greatest expression of utter, complete surprise that has ever existed and that ever would exist in the lifespan of the universe. He was now face to glorious face with the one he thought he'd never see again; the Son of God. But He was different now, so very different. Only hours before He had been a torn and bloodless shell of a man, but now, oh but now, he was dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his
chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. Strangely enough, for all His surpassing glory, fresh wounds remained on His hands, feet, and side. And the light! That aching, saturating light! The observer, while frozen in terrified shock, for the most fleeting of moments, marveled at the beauty and glory he had so consumingly longed to posses. But in an instant the sharply real terror thundering through his veins, coursing through every inch of his body, brought him back to present moment. All of his minions were long gone; they knew their place, and it was nowhere near the Most High. Instantly, the keys the observer had so proudly been clutching
to his chest were out of his grasp, and into the smoldering hands of Almighty Yeshua. The fire in His eyes grew impossibly intense in that moment, the greatest moment in the history of the world. As the
Almighty looked fiercely into the observer's eyes, the Warrior King His people had waiting for for so long was fully embodied, and as He took back the keys of death and hell, His thundering words changed
everything: "They belong to me."