I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! (Revelation 1: 18)
Flowers! Easter lilies! Speak to me this morning the same sweet lesson of immortality you have been speaking to so many sorrowing souls for years. Wise old Book! Let me read again in your pages the steady assurance that “to die is gain” (Phil. 1: 21). Poets! Recite for me your verses that resound the gospel of eternal life in every line. Singers! Break forth once more into hymns of joy— let me hear again my favorite resurrection songs.
Trees, blossoms, and birds; and seas, skies, and winds— whisper it, sound it anew, sing it, echo it, let it beat and resonate through every atom and particle on earth, and let the air be filled with it. Let it be told and retold again and again, until hope rises to become conviction, and conviction becomes the certainty of knowing. Let it be told until, like Paul, even when we face our death, we will go triumphantly, with our faith secure and a peaceful and radiant expression on our face.
O sad-faced mourners, who each day are wending
Through churchyard paths of cypress and of yew,
Leave for today the low graves you are tending,
And lift your eyes to God’s eternal blue!
It is no time for bitterness or sadness;
Choose Easter lilies, not pale asphodels;
Let your souls thrill to the caress of gladness,
And answer the sweet chime of Easter bells.
If Christ were still within the grave’s low prison,
A captive of the Enemy we dread;
If from that rotting cell He had not risen,
Who then could dry the gloomy tears you shed?
If Christ were dead there would be need to sorrow,
But He has risen and vanquished death today;
Hush, then your sighs, if only till tomorrow,
At Easter give your grief a holiday.
~May Riley Smith
A well-known preacher was once in his study writing an Easter sermon when this thought gripped him: “My Lord is living!” With excitement he jumped up, paced the floor, and began repeating to himself, “Christ is alive. His body is warm. He is not the great ‘I was’ but the great ‘I am.’ ”
Christ is not only a fact but a living fact. He is the glorious truth of Easter Day!
Because of that truth, an Easter lily blooms and an angel sits at every believer’s grave. We believe in a risen Lord, so do not look to the past to worship only at His tomb. Look above and within to worship the Christ who lives. Because He lives, we live.
~Abbott Benjamin Vaughan
Cowman, L. B. E.; Reimann, Jim (2008-09-09). Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings (pp. 173-174). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.