The Day After

It’s the day after.

The day after the tags have been taken off the new clothes or the old spring clothes pulled from the back of the closet to be worn on Easter morning

The day after the baskets have been picked through and the egg hunts completed

The day after the hallelujahs have been sung

The day after the responsive greeting has been exchanged in worship:    “Christ the Lord is risen!  He is risen indeed!”

It’s the day after Easter.

Has anything changed? Has anything changed in the way we live?  The way we speak to one another?  The way we look at the world and the people around us?

Has the new life – resurrection life – of Easter touched us in a way that we are changed?

Has anything changed? YES – Everything!

We now live in the light of the Resurrection – on the other side of the empty tomb. We don’t take trips to the Holy Land to view the sealed tomb of our Savior. We walk into an empty tomb. No old bones to revere. No words craved on a tombstone. Only an empty chamber.

As the hymn declares, “every day to us is Easter with its resurrection song” *.   We now live as Easter people.

Frederick Buechner said it well: “Resurrection means that the worst thing is never the last thing.”

It’s the day after . . . and everything has changed.

Christ the Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!


* “Easter People, Raise Your Voices” – Hymn #304, United Methodist Hymnal, Words by William M. James, 1979. Music by Henry T. Smart, 1867.

The Great ‘I Told You So’!

No one likes to hear “I told you so . . .”

Whether it’s the “suggested” route to some address that is either correct or incorrect or the outcome of the Super Bowl – no one likes to hear “I told you so!”

Unless . . . you’re talking about the Resurrection. Today is the day that we hear loud and clear from the empty tomb the proclamation of Christ: “I told you so!”

Good Friday is the day that the ‘sun refused to shine’, the day that the One to ‘save all history’ was killed, the day that the world as the disciples knew it fell apart.

Holy Saturday is the in-between day. It’s the day that the disciples wondered “what do we do now?”

and Resurrection Sunday is the day that sorrow is turned into joy, mourning is turned into dance. It’s a new day!

and I’m so thankful that I hear the words “I told you so!”

Christ the Lord is risen. He is risen indeed!

The In-Between Day

It’s the in-between day. The day between death and resurrection.

The disciples don’t know it’s the in-between day. They just think “it’s over – the One that we thought would save us is crucified.”

The disciples have placed Jesus, their Savior, in a tomb. Now they’ve gone home with heads hung low, tears in their eyes, shoulders drooped, leaning on others for support.

The women have seen the tomb – where Jesus was laid.  Friday has been the Day of Preparation so they have gone home to prepare – for the Sabbath and for a return visit to the tomb on the first day of the week. When the women return, they will anoint the dead body of Jesus.

Hope . . . gone.

The very people who condemned Jesus to death have a faint memory of the promise made by the “imposter”: ‘After three days I will rise again.’

“Secure the tomb, Pilate. The disciples might steal the dead body and say he’s resurrected. Then the last deception would be worse than the first.”

Soldiers seal the grave and stand guard.

The Sabbath comes. The disciples rest, believing that the world as they’ve known it for the past 3 years is over.

On this side of the resurrection, we know that Holy Saturday is the in-between day – the day between death and new life. We know it’s NOT over.

We live so many of our days as in-between days. We believe in the resurrection. We know that Jesus is alive but it just feels like the in-between goes on forever.   The unexpected has happened, devastating our world. The diagnosis comes out of nowhere, the job is gone, security is rocked . . . everything changes. Sometimes it’s the big stone that seals the tomb of our pain and loss. Sometimes it’s just the little rocks of disappointment and heartache that cover our path.

We just need to hold on. It’s an in-between day. The rock will be rolled away. There is the faint whisper of the promise made by our Savior . . . “I will rise again . . .”

Hope is not gone.

Elizabeth’s Lucky Day

Friday the 13th usually brings fear of an unlucky day for folks but for Elizabeth, Friday, May 13, 1960 was her lucky day! It was her birthday!

Five months ago, Friday, January 13, Elizabeth died from a long battle with cancer. All of us who loved her were shocked and left wondering why. Certainly this was not a lucky day for us. How could this woman who was so filled with life and love be gone from us?

Elizabeth was one of those people who loved life, who loved her family, who loved her friends and most of all, loved God. She had a way of making everyone around her smile and feel better about their day. She was a bright light of love and friendship!

“LizBeth” was my oldest friend – since the nursery at Norlina United Methodist Church. Most of my childhood and teenage memories involve her – Sunday School, hours and hours of playing Barbies, UMYF . . .

Most of my “firsts” were shared with her:

  • first day of kindergarten and first grade,
  • first time singing special music at church (5th grade duet of “Fairest Lord Jesus”),
  • first dates (double-dating that was approved by my parents ‘if Elizabeth going’),
  • first time seeing a big city (New York City – big deal from 2 teenagers from small town Norlina!)
  • first time being away from home at Conference youth events
  • first rock concert

We were even pregnant at the same time though we were living 800 miles apart. Our sons (Will and Samuel) are graduating on the same day (today) from NCSU School of Engineering. Younger son, Barnes, graduated this week from Louisburg College.

Many women called Elizabeth their “best friend” because that’s who she was! She made all of her friends feel special.

When Elizabeth died, so many of us were shocked because we didn’t know how sick she really was! She attended my Dad’s funeral in August and came over to my Mom’s house after the services. She didn’t look sick. She didn’t act sick. She didn’t want to be sick! She always wanted to concentrate on how others were doing instead of thinking of her self. She only told me about her illness if I specifically ASKED her. Sometimes folks approach illness with an attitude of “enjoying poor health” – telling everyone how bad they feel. Not Elizabeth.

I was privileged to share some time with her in the last two weeks of her life. I watched as her husband, Henry, cared for her. What a testament to his deep and abiding love for her!

We laughed together, cried together and talked about the hope found in Christ’s resurrection.

Elizabeth asked me the week before she died: “Tricia, what do you tell your church members when they have a terminal illness?”

I said, “There’s always hope. But hope doesn’t mean that everything turns out the way we want it to. Our hope is in Christ. Our hope is in the resurrection. Our hope is in the love that we have for one another and the love God has for us.”

I noticed, during this last week, a sign hanging in Elizabeth’s kitchen with a verse from Hebrews: “We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.” Yes, this hope is Christ – our anchor!

On the day of her funeral, my friend, Angie, sent me this text: “God loved you big through Elizabeth and that love reminds us of His faithfulness to care for His children until the end.”

So true – God loved us BIG through Elizabeth.

Today on her birthday – I give thanks for the love, the friendship and the witness of Elizabeth. I know that she’s continuing to celebrate her lucky day in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.   Happy birthday, LizBeth!