My alarm went off yesterday at 5 a.m.
At 5:20 a.m., I was still in bed, sending Snapchat messages to friends with the words “got to go check the tomb” and feeling pretty snarky.
I eventually got up, pulled on some clothes, brushed my teeth and shuffled into my car to head to church for the annual Easter sunrise service at 6. No shower, no makeup, just myself.
I wasn’t feeling well. In fact, I had a cough and a sore throat, and I was supposed to sing in the Easter cantata at the main worship service. I was seriously contemplating staying in bed, but two things made me get up: 1.) I had missed the Maundy Thursday service because I went home to Missouri for a few days, and as a member of the church staff, I felt obligated to hit the full slate on Sunday. 2.) Easter breakfast follows the sunrise service, and if you promise to feed a youth leader, she will come.
When I hit the pew, I was grumpy to say the least. I was kind of wallowing in my own misery, trying to figure out if I was actually going to be able to hit the notes in the cantata (which I struggle to do on a good day anyway), and wondering at exactly what time I could get in a nap.
The resurrected Son of God, King of Kings, Prince of Peace, wasn’t really high on my priority list at 6 a.m., if we’re being completely honest.
We began the service. We sang a few songs that I kind of mouthed, trying to save what little voice I had left, still lost in my own pity.
But then our pastor, Rev. Curtis Franklin, delivered his message. It was about the empty tomb. Surprise.
What was a surprise to me was his demeanor.
While Curtis is a jovial sort no matter what the circumstances, he was especially cranked up that morning. He looked to have been up for hours; there were no yawns or sleepy eyes on him.
It wasn’t yet dawn, and Curtis was nearly hopping around the altar. This was more than his typical diet Mt. Dew high. He was truly excited about Easter. The tomb was empty, and for Curtis, that made him genuinely glad. I was feeling salty because my throat hurt. Curtis was exercising his lungs with praise to God and the Son who died and rose again three days later. I was wondering if we were having bacon or sausage with breakfast.
A little more than 24 hours later, I’m not sure what his main exegetical point was, but that’s OK. As he kept preaching, my crotchety walls started coming down. Here was my pastor, our church’s human leader, mentor and friend, filled with overflowing joy at the risen Savior, proclaiming God’s word and smiling about it as the sun came up.
His excitement for Christ was contagious.
My throat didn’t hurt so much.
I gradually forgot I was tired. The Spirit was awake in me, even if I wanted to tramp it down.
It suddenly didn’t feel like such an obligation to be at church. It was an honor to worship my Creator who loved us enough to send his son to die horrifically on a cross and cause him to rise again from the dead three days later to give us eternal life in heaven.
Today, I’m thankful for Godly leaders who are excited about the things God has done. About the things God is doing. About the things God will do. In our churches. In our homes. In our schools. In our workplace. In our city. In our nation. In our world.
As Pastor Curtis likes to say, “We’re Easter People.”
This is our season. Rejoice, and be glad in it.