Celebrating the Promise of Easter

We have been celebrating Easter for seven weeks.  
For forty days before Easter, the church remains focused on Jesus' suffering. The things we chose to give up during Lent are daily reminders of that suffering. No flowers adorn the altar, and no Hallelujahs are spoken. But it is different when you are deep in the throes of suffering. Every day becomes a reminder of the Resurrection. You hold dear to the Easter promise. And every waking, living, breathing moment holds a song of praise, a prayer of thanksgiving, a plea for comfort, and a Hallelujah to the One who not only overcame death, but has given new life to all those who believe. Hallelujah!
When I went with Emily to choose his casket, she ran her fingers over the satin lining and pressed her hands into the pillows on each one.  Through tears and a quivering chin, she asked, “Does this feel good to you? I just want for him to be comfortable.”  The beautiful wooden casket that she chose was closed at his funeral, and my nephew Phillip's earthly body was laid in his grave seven weeks ago today.  But that is not the end. I have good news. Phillip is beyond comfortable, and while his casket is beautiful, and the satin lining is plush and soft, it is not his eternal resting place. His soul is not in that casket any more than Jesus is still inside of a tomb.  When Jesus overcame death and that stone was rolled away, he made a way for all to have eternal life and to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Three years ago this week, Phillip was the guest preacher at church for Youth Sunday. In the sermon he prepared, he spoke about salvation and entering into the Kingdom of Heaven. I remember him asking, "If you died today, do you know that you would go to Heaven?" Phillip knew. There is so much comfort in that.  
Today our family attended church, then spent the day at my parents' house for lunch and an afternoon of just being together. A special thank you to my incredible mama, who always makes family gatherings and holidays so special for our whole family. My mama cooked a ham, deviled eggs, sweet potato casserole, green beans, baked beans, corn pudding, macaroni and cheese, yeast roles, two desserts, and sweet tea without looking at the first recipe. She can do this blindfolded, because she has done it so many times. Also, special thanks to my sister Maggie who works magic with a camera, for capturing the sweetness before the children shed their Easter Sunday clothes. 
Happy Easter from all of us to all of you! This beautiful Easter Sunday has been both difficult and joyous. We are clinging to the Easter promise and so thankful for the gift of Everlasting Life!
xoxo, Erin
Southern Virginia Mom