He is risen

From the desk of…

by Philip Swyers, Commissioner –

I love Easter for many reasons, but at the top of the list is a living, loving Savior who cared for me. God has been faithful to me.

The year was 1969, and the then Lieutenant Pat sent me on a mission to bring three Easter lilies for the Sunday morning service. Sound easy? Having been married now for almost five months, I saluted and went. It was a Saturday, and the florist was ready for me as we had a weekly flower order for the corps on Sunday. There were so many lilies to choose from. I picked a plant with three of the most wonderful blooms you have ever seen. Proudly, I took them back to the corps and placed them where the Sunday flowers were to be on view at the front of the chapel.

On the Saturday before Easter, my bride asked where the three flowers were as she saw “only” one. “You are wrong,” I replied as I pointed to the three blooms. “See, there are three there.” Thus started my education on Easter Sunday about what “three” meant—not blooms but plants! Now, after 40 years, it is still the talk when we arrive at any corps on Easter…“How many lilies do we have?”

Easter for the Christian, as I see it, has two great sentences from the Word. “God so loved the world” is the first. It is a gem that included me—the flash of heavenly light in my head and heart.

God loves
God gives
God saves

This has to be the most thrilling truth that fell on human ears or came to bless a suffering race. God loves. His love is all-inclusive.

God loves the millions around the world, but because of Easter and a cross, he knows my name and I call him Lord and Savior. He loves you, too.

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning they came to the sepulcher and found the stone rolled away. This brings us to that second sentence that changed the world. “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here but is risen.”

A few years back William Barclay described three essentials for a satisfying life with Christ. He said one needed hope of the future, pleasure in his service and someone to love in Christ. It is these ingredients that make Easter the finest gift of God’s grace that any of us can experience. It is the hope that one day I shall see him face to face and know that I am a sinner saved by his grace. This hope reunites me with my loved ones and God’s people—the ingredient of pleasure in his service as a child of God in this world. Pleasure in his service—more than all, yes, more than all.

My love for Christ can be described in the words of Paul to the Ephesians: “As a prisoner of the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:1-2 NIV).

Easter is hope, pleasure in his service and the ability to love like Christ.

Do you remember this verse?

I sought God and he evaded me;
I sought my soul, but myself I could not see,
I sought my brother, and I found all three.

Easter…my hope is in him. He is not here but risen!

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