Most Thursdays on the way home from work, I listen to the local Christian radio station. During the rest of the week I avoid it because of its overabundance of long commercials and chatty deejays. But on Thursdays at 5:00, they do a long music set of the Top 5 listener-chosen songs of the week. And today, most appropriately, the theme was the Top 5 listener-chosen Easter songs.
I was a couple minutes late coming out of the office, so I tuned in as they reached #3 on the countdown. (Russ Lee’s “You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down.”) I pointed my Chevy north on I-95, towards town, to run an errand. But halfway there, the #2 song started—“The Easter Song” by Keith Green. I’ve always loved Keith Green and “The Easter Song” is one of my particular favorites, so I drove around the long way to where I was going so that I could hear the whole song. And then, we got to #1. Newsong’s “Arise, My Love.”
By the time I got to where I was going, I was bawling so hard that I decided to skip my errand and go home…
I’m giving you the link HERE but in case you don’t make it over there to see it, I just want to say that this song has one of the most awesome, impactful bridges of any Christian song I know: “Sin—where are your shackles? Death—where is your sting? Hell has been defeated—the grave could not hold The King! Arise, My Love!”
And since I’m a musician, I decided to share links for some of my other favorites, too…
The Glory of the Blood by Avalon
The Easter Song by Keith Green
The Wonderful Cross by Michael W. Smith
Early this week, I started reading a book by an author that’s new to me. By page 89 I was weeping because it was just so good! And this one passage touched me so much that I wanted to call everyone I know and read it to them. I decided that it would be perfect to share on Good Friday—the day we remember the crucifixion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the day after the Last Supper. So, from Charles Martin’s “The Dead Don’t Dance”:
“You all face a choice. You can rise from your seat, follow the person in front of you, stroll down this aisle, critique somebody else’s Sunday best which they happened to wear on a Wednesday night, think about how hungry you are or where, when, and what you are going to eat when you leave here, and then kneel, nod, nip and sip, and return to your seat, having thought the bread stale and the wine cheap.” Pastor John wiped his brow again after unfolding and refolding the handkerchief.
“Or”—he moved the cup to the other hand—“you can slide from your seat, limp to this rail…Reach down, grab these splintery timbers, fall, rest your baggage against it, extend your hands, take tenderly, place the body on your tongue, taste the grit, swallow, and feel the hunger build in your stomach. Then you can grasp this cup….Tremble, sip violently, pierce your elbows, lean more heavily, and then look upon this cross….You can reach up and place your trembling hands on callused, blood-soaked feet, let the red, slippery liquid run down your fingers, underneath your watchband, and come to rest in the crack of your elbow. You can lean your forehead against His shin, notice the crude and rusted nails, the shake and strain in His arms and legs, stick your hand in the hole in His side, notice the dried blood on His face, the thorns poking through the skin, smell the vinegar, feel the raw skin on His back, and hear the gurgle drowning out His breathing.” Pastor John took a long, deep breath….
“People, that space between your pew and this altar, between the red velvet cushion and these splintery timbers. Whether it’s twenty feet or a million miles, it’s not a question of distance. It’s one of position.”
Friends, I wish you all a Happy Easter. And by “Happy” I mean that I pray that we all would come to a deeper understanding of the love of God, pouring down in drops of blood at the cross, defeating sin, death, Hell, and the grave so that He could spend eternity with us.