"Jesus cannot forget us; we have been graven on the palms of his hands." ~Lois Picillo
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As we prepare to celebrate Easter Sunday and Christ's resurrection, I pray that each of you is blessed with a prayful and peace-filled weekend. Look for your next issue of 2TheHeart on Monday!
by Mike Collins
One of the most memorable traditions of my childhood was getting a new set of clothes to wear on Easter Sunday. Every year my parents took me shopping to buy what we called Easter clothes. During this annual shopping experience Mom would get a brand new dress, Dad would receive new dress pants and a shirt, and I would get either a brand new suit or dress pants and shirt as well.
My mother has pictures of me modeling every set of Easter clothes I have ever owned. One photo in particular comes to mind; I was probably three years old and standing on the front porch of the house that we lived in at the time. I was a chubby little fellow (some things never change) wearing a dark dress jacket with shorts and dress hat that matched. I think I looked pretty silly if you ask me, but Mom says I was adorable...I think she is only trying to defend herself for dressing me that way.
Easter is a time of new life. That which was dead now lives. Darkness is gone. A warm sun shines. Life has a new meaning. Easter dates back originally to the spring festival in honor of Eastra, the Teutonic goddess of light and spring. As early as the eighth century the Anglo-Saxons transferred the name to the Christian festival designed to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Today we are privileged to celebrate Easter because of Jesus' victory over sin, death and Hell.
What I find interesting is the fact that when Jesus was resurrected He too received new Easter clothes. John 20:6-7 says, "Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself." It is here Peter and John find Jesus' tomb to be empty except for his grave clothes. Later Jesus was seen by a number of people as well as His own disciples, yet nowhere in the Bible does anyone describe Him as naked. However, the new Easter clothes that I am referring to are what we know as the new body that Christ received after His resurrection. As Christians we too can expect to exchange our grave clothes for new Easter clothes during our resurrection when Christ returns for us.
Luther G. Presley wrote one of my favorite hymns about those new Easter clothes: "On the resurrection morning when all the dead in Christ shall rise, I'll have a new body, praise the Lord, I'll have a new life; eternal; Sown in weakness, raised in power, ready to live in paradise. I'll have a new body, praise the Lord, I'll have a new life." The second verse states, "Free from every imperfection, youthful and happy I shall be, I'll have a new body, praise the Lord, I'll have a new life; eternal; Glorified with Him forever, death will be lost in victory, I'll have a new body, praise the Lord, I'll have a new life...."
German pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote, "The meaning of the Easter message is: God is the death of death, God lives, and so also does Christ live; death was not able to keep Him against the superiority of God. God pronounced the mighty word against death, destroyed it, and raised Jesus Christ." On April 9, 1945 Mr. Bonhoeffer received his new Easter clothes after being hung from a piano wire by the Nazi Party at the Flossenburg concentration camp just a few days before it was liberated by the Allies.
This year as you prepare for your annual Easter clothing excursion, don't forget to make room in your life for your new Easter clothes. Oh, by the way, in case you are wondering, they are definitely name brand.
Mike Collins copyright 2004
Mike Collins is a syndicated columnist and Christian author, whose stories are featured in the new 2TheHeart book! www.cafepress.com/2theheart His previous stories "Valentine's Day Balloon", "Mike's Knives", "The Key", and "The Oasis" can be found in the 2TheHeart story archives. To read more of Mike's writing, visit wwww.mikecollins.biz.
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The Letter Box:
I read your Easter messages and both fit me so well this Easter. See I lost my husband to cancer in Feb; 2004..Just 2 months ago...And many of days are so tough that I don;t care to get dressed or do for others. I can barley make it through and than I heard the story of the 3 days. Oh how meaningful that story has become....
And the husband and that awful pink bird.... See I too have a pair of them by the pond and now I can look at them with love...
Thanks for being there as God guided me to your site...It was his direction for me to continue on my path. God Bless..Bonnie
Today's Easter messages edition was a beautiful contribution to the season. The two short stories by Patt Barnes and Maggie Rea were very inspiring, and both messages were well worth treasuring. The old flower lady who waits for three days for the Lord to help her with her troubles and the pink flamingo crew ministering to the man with cancer--both are moving and memorable.
Even the letters about Ron Bray's wonderful story "The Nail" were sincerely inspiring.
Thanks and blessings, meg
How appropriate for me to get around to reading "the magic of three days" just now as I just got news that our granddaughter Laura was put on a heart lung machine after 2 hours of heart surgery because things were not going as planned. God gave me the scripture this morning before the surgery began "I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you" from John 14:18. The story of the flower lady touched my heart. Thanks -- And as you read this today Laura could use one more prayer. She is 16 years old now and has gone through many surgeries because she was born with only one ventricale. Gods mercy had a praying cleaning lady in the intensive care unit after Laura was born praying for the babies she cleaned around. I got the chance to meet her back then as she prayed over her lunch while Laura was in surgery the first time over 16 years ago. She said she always prayed that angels would surround the cribs. Laura has an awesome testamony that has carried her through these past years and trusting for "another plus three days".
God bless you and yours Mary Carol (MC for short)