Come Just as You Are

By: Marcy Barthelette

Easter won’t really come for me until I know that every day, in all my comings and goings,

the Christ of Easter is present in my life. Kenneth Chafin, author

As I write, it is still Easter in my heart, and Easter, for me, equates to springtime and new beginnings. Now that the days are longer, I can savor the warmth of the sun and revel in the beauty of tulips and daffodils and blooming trees. The birds share my joy in the sights and sounds of spring as they contemplate where to build a nest and raise a family. Squirrels are busy retrieving acorns from last year’s stashes and bunnies chase each other around the yard with little regard for human presence.

There are a few neighboring kids out playing and I hear the occasional lawnmower or weed-eater, but our street is relatively quiet today. In other words, life is really pretty normal, all things considered. Except, that is, the reason we celebrate the season just ended. Jesus was born in a cave in Bethlehem and some thirty-three years later, he was laid to rest in another cave in Jerusalem. It seems he leads a very ordinary life until he was thirty, but those last three years were just one unending series of miracles. Even when the tide of opinion turned, a miracle was still very much in the making, a miracle that held the potential of offering eternity to each and every person on earth.

This past Sunday, if you attended the 11:11 service at Aldersgate, either in person or virtually, you witnessed the baptism of two young girls. Their joy and excitement were evident as they publicly answered Jesus’ knock on the door of their hearts. A new journey was birthed in them.

Next Sunday, I will have the privilege of watching my granddaughter celebrate her decision to follow Jesus and I am grateful for the technology that allows me to be a part of that moment in these times when crowded places are still a risk. Rachel has grown up in church. Since she was first born, she has been surrounded by loving people who have nurtured a love of God in her. To hear her say that she gave her heart to Jesus touched my heart deeply, but it was no surprise. However, her journey through this world will be no less fraught with temptations than a child who has not known that love.

You may recall that Jesus’ own disciples had given up on Him. They thought he was dead and that all His promises had been just empty rhetoric. They were so wrapped up in their own grief they didn’t recognize Him as He walked alongside them. They were eventually enlightened and celebrated His resurrection. But if His closest friends could doubt Him, even for a brief moment in time, where does that leave us?

We all live somewhere between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. We are on the

long Emmaus Road journey together. Ray Pritchard, Faces Around the Cross

The miracle of Easter is that God’s love and forgiveness are available to everyone because Jesus hung on a cruel cross and died. We know the story didn’t end there on that cross or even in a borrowed grave. As promised over ages of time, He was resurrected on the third day, promising life to all who would hear Him and accept His will in their lives. No matter who we are or what we’ve done, there is still hope. We only have to put aside the ways of this world and follow Him.

One of my recent devotional readings told of a tiny baby offered in baptism on Easter morning. She made no sound of a   complaint as the water touched her head and when the sacrament was completed, the minister carried her to a flower-draped cross and lifted her high. Could there be a better expression of the Easter promise than the dedication of a tiny new life to His care?

So think about your life, wherever you happen to be. Come to Jesus just as you are. He is waiting for you.

Father, we thank you the tomb is still empty because Jesus is alive today. Let faith rise to banish our

fears. May those who doubt, doubt no more.  Ray Pritchard, Faces Around the Cross

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