The Blessings of Easter

Posted on April 9, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

What a week! The blessings of celebrating our Lord’s death and resurrection just kept building in emotional worship experiences through the weekend. Maybe its a matter of slowing down and refraining from personal travel and speaking to fully participate in passion week programs, but it also has something to do with the focused way our church, Morrison Heights, gives emphasis to this appropriate seasonal emphasis.

Led by worship pastor, Rob Thomas, and powerful biblical messages by our pastor, Greg Belser, the emphasis began with stirring Easter musical presentations on Wednesday. I don’t think I have ever experienced such emotions as stimulated by our Maundy service on Thursday. A combination of music, drama, and the Lord’s Supper made the congregation feel we were actually participating in the tragic events before our Savior was crucified; when the service closed in a darkened auditorium with the words, “Jesus is dead,” and after a long pause, “…but Sunday is coming!” I felt compelled, as did others, just to sit and cry.

Friday we participated in the simulcast of “Secret Church” as David Platt taught from 6:00 pm to well after midnight on the “Suffering and the Sovereignty of God.” A simulcast to more than 50,000 participants from around the world isn’t exactly secret, but the setting is based on how many believers in restricted countries gather in recondite places to pray and study the Scriptures all night. There was significant prayer for the persecuted church and testimonies of believers who suffer for their faith. The six hours of comprehensive Bible study on understanding and accepting suffering was an enriching enhancement to the context of Easter celebrations.

Following the celebrative Easter worship and a Sunday School lesson on the resurrection, we gathered with Bobbye’s family for lunch. She and her sister, Bettye, were the first through the buffet line since they did most of the food preparation! After being away from family gatherings for more than 40 years of living overseas and serving with the International Mission Board, we are reminded of the blessing to now be with family who not only are bonded genetically but by love and devotion to the Lord.

The weekend climaxed with the opportunity to worship at First Presbyterian Church of Jackson as they celebrated their 175th anniversary with a sermon by former pastor, Dr. Jim Baird. Dr. Baird started the Presbyterian Church in Clinton right out of seminary when I was in high school. He started Youth for Christ and was a significant influence in my personal walk with the Lord.

Our relationship with Jim and Jane was renewed years later when their son, John Mark, married Bobbye’s neice, Rhonda. Jim not only pastored First Presbyterian for many years, he was one of the founders of PCA and Reformed Theological Seminary. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last weekend, and it has been a joy for us to be with them at our family gatherings.

One Comment on “The Blessings of Easter”

  1. Vickie Mascagni

    What a wonderful way your words describe last week. We too are just so thankful that God has given you a time to stay here in Mississippi and enjoy Mississippi dirt! We are glad to have our Mississippi blood back home with us.

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