|Art by Hannah Lenz used with permission|
The hymn, 'He Arose ! ' became my theme and anchor as the Joy of the Lords’ Resurrection and sacrificial love filled my mind, soul and body. For me as a child, Easter meant a new outfit, and some coloured hard boiled eggs, that mom and dad hid so we could 'hunt for them'. As far as the actual meaning element of Easter, there was some contact with one of mom's aunts who was a Christian, but she was considered to be too radical to be taken seriously.
Sometimes my dad took us to a nominal church that didn't preach a saving gospel. However, when I was 12, my oldest brother and I went to a rustic Bible camp in Northern Saskatchewan and on the strength of John 3:16, accepted Christ and got a lot of new rules to follow.
I don't remember being assured of God's loving presence or His intervening in our lives. Later on, my dad, then mom, gave their lives to the Lord, and we started to attend a Bible believing church when we could. There was a form of Godliness, but still I didn't know the power of God on my behalf.
When I first married, my husband and I "did the right thing,” and attended church regularly.I still often wondered about the cross of Easter, and what was good about God - the man who was brutally treated and crucified on ' Good Friday’?
A recent quote by J.I. Packer in 'Knowing God' made me reflect. He suggested for many unbelievers, the really staggering Christian claim that Jesus of Nazareth was God - made - man .. as truly and fully divine as He was human. I wondered if, even though I have been a Christian for for 68 years now if I was still struggling with that understanding or not appropriating the blessing and power and forgiving love of this Saviour?
As for Lent, we have been unable to attend Easter services for many years and can't really identify the humble and worshipful steps and feelings that bring me to reverence at this time.
I know my God personally but often don't experience His presence in fellowship withothers. I know Christians are to uphold, encourage and help each other, but I feel at times to be 'on the outside, looking in' on the fellowship and absolute love that should flow because of the Christ who died and rose again triumphant.
The song ‘Up From The Grave He Arose!’ Is one where there lies my hope, joy and peace for time and eternity. Lent is not just about giving up, but also giving over all of ourselves and life experiences to God. I watch in wonder as others seem to have a genuine experience of being blessed in honouring God in these ways. Sacrifice of self and nurturing my daily walk with Him has been important to me.
Although I know the importance of Good Friday and the resurrection that Easter represents I think the Christmas song, ‘Ring Those Bells ' sparks more of a full response in my soul and lets my spirit soar with the limitless beauty of God's wild and gracious and giving love for His own.
Janice Mansell has been writing for fifty years. She has come and gone from Inscribe since it originally started. A one time community correspondent she has spent the vast majority of her writing life chronicling the day to day, and memories.