​Easter: finding hope in a cemetery

I live in a hope, a hope that some day, after I'm dead and rotted, in this body I'll see my Redeemer. If you had told me I would have believed this thirty years ago as I graduated from medical school–the moment in time when I knew everything–I would have told you that you were daft. Today I'm willing to bet my life on it.

Christians mark the birth of our Savior in the middle of the winter when the trees are dormant and the ground is brown or covered with snow. We celebrate Christ's resurrection as the grass turns green and the trees burst into life. I don't think this is by accident. Actually seeing the miracle of another spring makes me pause and consider all the things I don't know.

On Easter morning Nancy and I, like Mary on that first Easter morning, go to a cemetery hoping against hope. We gather with others, we listen to the Good News preached, and finally the Salvation Army leads us in singing Up From the Grave He Arose.

After the sunrise service some in the crowd will disperse throughout the 170-acre Lexington Cemetery to visit their buried loved ones. I wonder about the shape and the form of their hopes. Through Scripture, God tells us that we will be resurrected and given a new body. All our tears will be wiped away. Even though our human experience tells us this is impossible, Jesus, through his resurrection, shows us that this is possible. We just have to believe. This belief in a possible thing that seems impossible is called faith. Something about really, truly living in faith transforms the human heart.

This Easter, live in a faith that lets you move mountains, lets you keep quiet when others scoff, and lets you sing when others murmur. This Easter, ask God, with all your heart, mind, and soul, to show you how to love him and to love others, by caring for his creation. Then may you be born again, like a tree in the spring, planted next to living waters, bearing fruit, never, never, never fading.

J. Matthew Sleeth