It was just a little wedding arbor up in front of the church, the plain wooden kind, unadorned, flowerless and simple. We wondered at its presence, but later on in the service we watched it take on significance as that humble little wooden arbor become a portal into another world.
We watched living souls walk through that little arbor clutching their signed death certificates, the ones that were on all of our seats, walk through that humble wooden portal from death to life in just a few steps all the way to Jesus. It was a victory walk they were doing, and we watched, witnesses to their commitment as we clutched our own certificates and renewed our own vows.
As the invitational song was sung, I had my eyes closed praying when Elaine elbowed me. I saw tears pooled in her eyes. She pointed left and then tears sprang to my own eyes as I saw a throng of people, as it turned out over 200 in our service alone. I expected several, but to be honest I was not prepared to see that many. I thought maybe there was a hidden door somewhere, because I didn’t know where all the people were coming from. The last one over the threshold was an old man, alone. Everyone clapped as he walked through.
My faith was in turn chastened, restored and staggered by seeing the redemptive power of the cross in action. And out of the land of shadows we all came, right along with them.
And then when Pastor Kevin said, “And if you want to get Baptized right after the service we have clothes you can change into, I will be there waiting.” That just set our hearts in motion even more. Watching people take that leap of faith in front of God and everyone never gets old.
After that we talked with our new neighbors and met their dogs, then later we took a short drive in the Motorhome which has been somewhat neglected due to so much time taken up with E’s care-taking duties. Soon after we got home there was a phone call from her Dad’s nursing home asking her whether to admit him to the hospital. He was thrashing around and crying out.
She left and walked into halls where death always seems to be waiting. Crouching on the sidelines.
Bus isn’t it always in this life? And Easter Day it seems, is no exception.
The day after Easter we are faced with the challenge of rising up right along with Him, of living out our faith story victoriously. We can only do that one way, and that’s by fixing our eyes and our faith on Jesus. Each and every day……we……must……choose……life.
Watching someone suffer and arrive ever closer to death who has not chosen the path of life is heartbreaking, and no one is more heartbroken than God Himself.
Who sees what could have been in each of us.
We are all waiting in the wings between life and death. But because of the cross and the empty tomb, we can rest there victorious, hopeful and fully alive. And if you love someone who is still living in the land of the shadows, never give up. Where there is breath, there is always room for hope.
The day we call Easter has come and gone, but the power of the resurrection raises us up again and again. Until that day when we see Him face to face.
And oh what a day that will be.
I brought my death certificate home and stuck it in my Bible to remind myself of what I decided long ago and where I am going after I leave this place. It rests there now.
Hope between the pages.