Ready and Waiting for Jesus
When I was growing up near Buffalo, New York, my family always spent Thanksgiving weekend with our relatives from the Syracuse area. We cousins eagerly anticipated being together because of the fun times we always had. When it was my family’s turn to host and the hour of our cousins’ arrival approached, Dad would pile all four kids into the car and drive to a dead-end street that overlooked the New York State Thruway. We sat and watched every car go by, straining to be the first to see a certain blue station wagon approaching from the east. Once the car was spotted, we hightailed it home to offer an enthusiastic greeting to our guests.
Reflecting on what it feels like to “watch and wait” has made me think about how we Christians are privileged to anticipate Easter each year. Unlike Jesus’s followers in Jerusalem who were understandably angry, fearful, and/or confused about the events of that first Holy Week, we keep vigil with the benefit of knowing how the story turns out. We rejoice at the image of Jesus’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, learn anew how to remain in communion with him and serve others with humility, feel the sting of his sham trial and cruel flogging, and grieve over the pain he suffered for our sake. After figuratively walking alongside Jesus during the week and reflecting on all that he went through, we receive a rich reward for “watching and waiting” through the incomparable joy of the resurrection. As penned by Charles Wesley, Easter ushers in the unmerited assurance of eternal life with Jesus: “Love’s redeeming work is done . . . fought the fight, the battle won . . . Death in vain forbids him rise . . . Christ has opened paradise!”
This Easter, I am making an effort to be like my young Thanksgiving self as I wait eagerly and expectantly for a fresh touch of God’s grace. That trusty blue station wagon never failed to bring joy my way; so much more can the message of Easter be counted on to renew the hope of every believer. And just as my family would throw open the front door to greet our Thanksgiving guests, may we all be ready to open our hearts and welcome the King of Kings and Lord of Lords on Easter morning!
Sue Bradley, Hope Church member