Spring, Easter and Renewal

Posted on April 4, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

It’s wonderful to be home! After traveling for most of the last three months it is nice to do something other than picking up our mail and doing the laundry on brief stopovers in Mississippi. The trips, fellowship with new and old friends and ministry opportunities have been fantastic, but isn’t retirement supposed to be about chilling out now and then?

Spring2013-billboardIt is nice to have weekend engagements in Mississippi and just a relatively short drive away. I will have led three seminars on spiritual warfare by the end of this month. I am hoping folks from the churches in Copiah County will join us at New Zion Baptist Church near Crystal Springs for the seminar Friday night and Saturday morning. This is the first time I have actually been put on a highway billboard!

It was refreshing to be able to worship at our home church, Morrison Heights Baptist Church, in special services throughout the week of Easter. It began on Palm Sunday with a choir concert and continued with a unique church-wide gathering for prayer and music immersed in meaningful passages of scripture on Wednesday. I have not been in a tradition that normally observed Maundy Thursday, but our church makes it one of the worship highlights of the year. Maybe it was due to constantly giving out in ministry and being deprived of the opportunity to receive in quiet meditation, but the evening was an emotional renewal in reflecting on the crucifixion and what Christ had done for us.

I pray that I will not lose the emotion stirred by the message on the resurrection and the anointed music presentations on Easter morning. No religion in the world can celebrate a risen Savior and the glory of what we have in Christ. Please read the accompanying “Devotional Reflections” that focuses on the awesome reality that we are resurrected with Christ to a new life. It is not something waiting to be granted in the afterlife. Thank you Pastor Greg Belser and Worship Leader Rob Thomas for honoring our Lord in such a meaningful way during this significant season.

Spring2013-FamilyReunionIn the midst of other services our church hosted a simulcast of “Secret Church” from 6:00 pm to midnight on Good Friday. As a reminder of believers in the persecuted church around the world who often have to gather in recondite locations to study God’s word, usually late into the night, Dr. David Platt, led this intense study on “Heaven and Hell and the Second Coming”–something that readily kept participants alert through the evening.

In addition to the spiritual blessing of worship through the week, we were blessed to gather on Easter with Bobbye’s extended family, the Douglas Clan, (pictured) including the three daughters and spouses, six grandchildren and now two great-grandchildren of Bobbye’s sister, Bettye. Talk about good country cooking…no where but down home in Mississippi.

Spring2013-azaleasAnd finally, spring! It was still in the 30s the last week of March but the sun is shining, the grass is turning green, trees are budding and spring flowers are blooming. A severe hail-storm two weeks ago knocked all the blooms off our early blooming azaleas, Japanese magnolia and forsythia. We arrived home to find yellow pollen covering the porch and everything in the yard, but now spring is really here.

Most of those following us think it is weird that I get such joy and fulfillment out of planting shrubs, weeding flower beds and pruning trees. But three exhausting sunny days last week have been as renewing physically and aesthetically as the previous week was spiritually!

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