Heavy Weights of Easter

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“So they took Jesus, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of the Skull, which called in Hebrew, Golgotha.”                                                  John 19:17 AMP

Finally, the day had come to decorate the church communion table for Easter. I had researched ideas on Pinterest, gathered the necessary supplies, and even enlisted my father-in-law’s help in constructing the perfect rugged cross for the display. Now, as I pulled into the church parking lot, excitement swelled up inside me as I thought about how beautiful the cross adorned with rocks and lilies would look. It was if this was, in some small way, a gift to my Savior, my offering of beauty, love, and creativity. I wanted it to turn out perfectly, because after all, Jesus was the perfect sacrifice.

Earlier in the week, I had brought most of the needed decorations inside the building. So now, all that was left to do was to deliver the huge pile of rocks overloading my SUV trunk.  Popping open the back hatch, I inhaled a deep motivational breath before delving into the task of shifting the multitude of heavy rocks into a suitcase on the ground. When the suitcase could barely be zipped without ripping, I tilted it up on its wheels and attempted to pull the luggage toward the ramp.

Wow. This is a lot heavier than I thought it would be.

Inching ever so slowly, I continued creeping up the ramp toward the front doors of the church. Tugging and pulling the substantial weight, my back began to cramp and ache.

How much further do I have to go?

I clumsily maneuvered through the door, almost tripping over the wheels of the luggage. I edged down the deceivingly long aisle, one painful, burdened step at a time toward the altar table.

Just keep going…

It seemed that with each movement forward, the suitcase gained another pound. My arms felt as fragile as cooked spaghetti noodles as I gripped the handle tighter, determined to press forward to make it to my destination.

Only a few more steps…

Suddenly, a dark shadow of sadness and humility was cast over my heart, seeping deep into the recesses of every nook and cranny. For I realized the burdensome path I had walked while toting the heavy load of rocks, was short in comparison to the dusty road of torture Jesus walked for me.  The Son of God Himself bore the harsh physical weight of the cross on His back and shoulders as He made His way to Golgotha to be tortured and crucified for my sins. I cannot begin to imagine how heavy the cross felt against Jesus’ skin, each movement splintering off wood pieces as a painful reminder of the agony, humiliation, and rejection He’d already endured.  But Jesus continued to surge forward, knowing that only more abuse and misery awaited Him on that gruesome wooden beam.

However, once to Golgotha, my Savior endured a taxing burden far greater than those physical pressures could ever be. He took on all the sin of mankind. Every sin that I have ever committed or ever will commit was thrust upon His blameless, pure Spirit. All my bad attitudes, lies, deceitfulness, and disobedience to God were placed on Him like a nasty disease that no one wants. Except, He willfully agreed to be there. Jesus’ love for me and His obedience to the Father, compelled Him to endure the burdens of the cross.

And then came the joy! It was if the Lord Himself had released a million songbirds inside the voice of my soul as I marinated in awe of how much love Jesus loves me. I rejoiced because I knew that God had risen Jesus from the dead and my Savior continues to live today! Love had conquered the grave so that my burdens could be released forever.

Who knew that lugging a suitcase full of rocks would bring about a spiritual awakening for me? I came into the church that morning prepared to offer God a small gift of my creative talents. But as it turns out, He blessed with me a most precious gift of a refreshed viewpoint and passion for Easter. Isn’t God so good like that? He’s always pouring out blessings, even when I am totally undeserving.

My hope, friend, is that you and your family will be reminded of the heavy weights of Easter this year. I pray God casts a fresh perspective on the burdens Christ endured by way of the cross, sparking an awakening deep inside your soul which cannot be ignored.

Many Easter blessings to you,

Alisha Ritchie