Another Stone, Without the Sting

Empty Tomb

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
 Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
 Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Christ the Lord is Risen Today
By: Charles Wesley, 1707-1778

Listen as you read.  This is a short but beautiful cello version.

What incredible hope we have!  Because Jesus left His tomb empty, one day we will leave our grave the same, even if we taste death as He did.  He lives again and in so doing has taken away the sting of death.  It is difficult to wrap our hearts around this truth, but we must try for the hope it gives us as we face our own death, and deal with the loss of those we love.

The Stone

There must have been a jarring finality to the stone being rolled into place to seal Jesus’ tomb.  Most had fled, but Jospeh of Arimethea requested Jesus’ body and placed it in his tomb so the disciples knew where to return after the Sabbath on the third day.

Calvary Sunrise

It is hard for us to imagine what that morning was like as the women headed to the grave.  They were planning to prepare Jesus body for burial, but must have wondered how they would move the stone, if they had even thought of that.  We know what happened, so it is just tough to think about that approach to the tomb.  But their perspective was about to change.

Can you put yourself in their shoes as they approach the tomb and find the stone rolled away?  As they stood there in a flood of emotions, the angel answers the question they were thinking, “Where is Jesus?”  He answers them with his own question.

“Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen.”  Luke 24:5b-6a

Your glorious King is alive again!  In that moment, everything changes.  Their understanding of Jesus’ work is changed.  Their thoughts about their lives moving forward changed.  Our ability to face the certainty of death changed.

Another Stone

My father passed away a little over a month ago.  Though I have believed in the resurrection for 27 years, never was it more important to me than in those first few days after my dad died and I began to grieve.  What I have declared for years to be true, found a deeper expression in my soul as I used it to help me find comfort.

There were many things to take care of as we made arrangements for my dad’s funeral, including the opening and closing of his burial plot.  There was a jarring finality to carrying his casket and placing it over his grave with my brother, sons, and nephews.  Many who had come to the funeral were not able to attend this ceremony as we gathered to say our last goodbyes here on earth.

Tombstone

Though I could not have imagined how hard those last moments would be, the sadness and sacredness were intermingled.  Everything was handled perfectly and created a wonderful moment honoring my dad, including a three-fold release of doves which took my breath away. There remains one detail though that we still need to care for, his tombstone.

At some point we will purchase a stone and have it engraved so that it can mark the final resting place of what remains of my father’s physical body.  His remains.  A part of him remains, but the best of him has gone on to his eternal home, because Jesus Christ has removed the sting of death.

For years when I thought of this, I had on my mind the way we think of death as we are looking toward and past it.  What I have thought of in the last few weeks as I prepared to celebrate Easter was how the song of death is removed particularly as we look back on it.  I have also thought of the different perspectives of our own death versus the death of those we love.

I find great comfort in knowing that my dad is better off by far, and the worst part is for those of us who have been left to mourn his loss. There is still a sting of death for us, but not so much for my dad.  The same will be true for all who are in Christ whenever we face death.

Those we leave behind may need to place a stone to mark our grave, but we will not remain there any more than Jesus remained in His.  If you have lost someone in the last year, or longer, find comfort in knowing that for them the sting of death has been removed, even though you can still feel it.   May the Holy Spirit be that comfort, for we do not grieve as those who have no hope.

Happy Tuning!

Jesus, thank You for leaving the tomb empty.  Thank You for removing the sting of death for those who have gone before us into the eternal rest You have promised all who trust in You.  Comfort us who grieve those losses, even as we wait to see our hope fulfilled.  In Jesus name.  Amen.

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Video 5.2 Transcript

Welcome to Tuesday Tunings at Resonant 7, where we reflect on the reality of God and resolve to let it resound in our lives, repeatedly. Let’s tune our hearts.

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
 Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
 Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

The angel asked, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”  Can you imagine what those women at the tomb must have been thinking? Praise Jesus for His victory over the grave.

Let there be no mistake, death is a painful experience, but truly only for the ones left behind, or unprepared.  He has removed the sting of death for all who are trusting His to cover their sin. Glory to His name!

Because His was a perfect sacrifice, He did not need to die over and over again, like the sacrifices at the Temple, to pay the penalty for our sins.  Once for all. Thank Him.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ rendered the grave defeated.  Because of His Resurrection, the grave will not be able to hold us either, since He was the firstborn from among the dead, and we will rise victorious like Him.  Praise our Glorious Resurrected King!

Take a few moments to talk to Jesus about what has surfaced in your heart, or just listen to what He is saying to you, then we will sing once more

Sing

Take the awareness of God’s presence cultivated in these last few minutes into the next ones and beyond.  Until next time, be Resonant.

Alleluias: Innermost and Outermost

Raise your joys and triumphs high!

 

Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia!
 Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
 Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Christ the Lord is Risen Today
By: Charles Wesley, 1707-1778

Listen as you read.  This is a short but beautiful cello version.

He is risen!  It is just as true today as it was on Sunday, and Tuesday for that matter, so we continue our celebration as we think about the last two lines here.  There is an interesting juxtaposition of extremes I had not noticed until a little deeper reflection.

Innermost Alleluia

So here in the context of lifting our Alleluia’s to the risen Christ, we are implored to “Raise (our) joys and triumphs high”.  Though the instruction is to lift these things, consider the fact that they begin as in inner response to external circumstances.  We can not raise from within what we have not perceived.

Consider it from this perspective.

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.  1 Peter 1:8-9 ESV

Expressing our heart

Through His resurrection, Christ has accomplished the salvation of our souls.  When we believe this, we obtain the outcome of our faith.  This brings us to a point of rejoicing, albeit with an ineffable joy.  Even though we may not be able to fully or completely express this “inexpressible” and glory-filled joy, we can not help but try.  

This may be the epitome of the expression, “the heart sings”.  There is effectively a remarkable inner alleluia that we feel and attempt to utter.  This third line encourages that activity, an outward expression of an inward reality which begins at the very core of our being, intimate and personal, quiet and tender, our heart.

Outermost Alleluia

Glorious pink cross in sunset

On the heels of this very micro expression of praise comes the instruction to a very macro one.   From the heart to the heavens.

Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

This instruction is very scripturally sound.

Isaiah 49:13 ESV

Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.

Remarkable cross

Why are the heavens and the earth commanded to sing and exult (present tense)?  Because the Lord has comforted his people (past tense) and will have compassion on his afflicted (future tense).  

All the tenses make sense, but it is curious that the heavens and earth are to praise because God has had and will have compassion on his people.  The implication here is that his compassion will overflow and have an impact of not only God’s people but the whole of His creation.

Whether the subtle pink cross above or the overt one here, these images give expression to the fact that creation is indeed doing what Scripture has commanded it to do.  So the macro scale of our Alleluia seems to be on track.

What about the micro?  Are you as faithful to lift your “Alleluia” as the other works of His hands?  If you are like me, you want to be, even without the command to raise your joys and triumphs high.  So let’s cultivate such a mind for just a moment.

Think about your joys and triumphs.  What comes to mind?  Now take a few moments and give Jesus praise for them.  Ask the Holy Spirit to make you keenly aware of them throughout your day.  And then do it all over again every time He does.

Alleluia!

Jesus, thank You for giving me something to sing about, even though it truly is inexpressible.  Just the same, give me words and others ways to express it today, even as I respond to Your work in my life revealed through every joy and triumph.   In Jesus name.   Amen.

Grateful Thinking!

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Subscribers enjoy this podcast! Everyone else, the transcript below.

Podcast 5.1 Transcript

Welcome to Thursday Thoughts at Resonant 7, where we reflect on the reality of God and resolve to let it resound in our lives, repeatedly. Let’s think about this.

Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia!

Matthew 28:5-6 ESV

…the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.

The empty tomb declared it.  The angels explained it. Those first disciples witnessed it and died still declaring it.  May our lips and our lives echo it, “He is risen indeed!”

 Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!

Revelation 19:1 ESV

After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,

Though this is a scene from the end of the story of Scripture, it is made possible through the resurrection.  Do not wait until you are around the throne to join the great “Alleluia”! Praise Him right now!

Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!

1 Peter 1:8-9 ESV

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Because of what Jesus has accomplished through His resurrection, the salvation of our souls, we should rejoice with a joy that is inexpressible.  I love how we are instructed to rejoice, even though our joy is inexpressible. We may not be able to completely or perfectly express it, but we will not let that stop us from trying, with our songs and our lives.

 Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Isaiah 49:13 ESV

Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.

He could not have showed us more compassion or comforted us better than He has in redeeming our souls through His resurrection.  Sing heaven, and earth reply or echo that exultation, for Jesus has not only redeemed our souls but has begun the process of making all the wrong things right.

Take a few moments to talk to Jesus about what has come to your mind, or listen to what He is saying to you, then I will read our text once more.

Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia!
 Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
 Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Take the mindfulness of God’s presence cultivated in these last few minutes into the next ones and beyond.  Until next time, be Resonant.

Easter-Inspired Alleluias

Resurrection

Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia!
 Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
 Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Christ the Lord is Risen Today
By: Charles Wesley, 1707-1778

Listen as you read.  This is a short but beautiful cello version.

Having just celebrated the resurrection, we are going to spend the next four weeks considering this great Easter hymn.  If you were looking forward to the final stanza of When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,we will bring that to a conclusion as a fitting culmination and response to all these “Alleluias”. Speaking of…

We Praise You God!

Alleluia or Hallelujah!

Some of our traditions sweeten the “Alleluia” of Easter morning by not saying or singing that word for several weeks preceding Easter.  The intent is two-fold I would say.  First, it causes a sense of anticipation in the worshipper and second, it symbolizes a degree of the longing that the Hebrew people had as they awaited the coming of the Messiah, or Anointed One.  If you are from one of those traditions, you might not have even been aware of this intentional choice, but all the same have experienced the heightened joy when that first Alleluia is uttered Easter morning.

It is also heightened by the sheer fact that if there ever was a morning that the redeemed people of God want to say “Alleluia” it is this morning.  After all, Alleluia simply means “We praise You, God” and on this morning of mornings our praise rises rightly to our Redeemer King, for even though we celebrate His resurrection every time we gather, we absolutely do on Easter.

While “Alleluia” is an appropriate response to every line of this of hymn, and every other stanza for that matter,  there is something unique about the way it is used in this stanza.  This is particularly true of lines two and four, where, rather than simply being an exclamation at the end of the line, it is actually an integral part of those lines.  What are the sons of men and angels instructed to say?  Alleluia.  Even the very heavens and the earth are instructed to sing and reply this simple declaration of praise.  We will look at the first of those here, and the other Thursday, but we first will begin with our title line.

Risen

What we celebrate on Easter is nothing less than the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead after He had been crucified for our sins and buried.  Our faith hinges on this truth.  As Paul said in I Corinthians 15:3-4.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

We have become so accustomed to this eternity-altering reality, that, dare I say, we take it for granted.  And that is unfortunate not only because we loose the wonder of it, but we can actually begin to loose sight of the impact and implications.

Jesus Running Out of the Tomb

In the resurrection, Jesus is demonstrating victory over not only the grave, but sin and death as well.  Not only that, but as you read further in 1 Corinthians 15, you realize that Jesus was the firstborn from among the dead, and that we too will rise for “death has been swallowed up in victory.”  I encourage you to read that passage at the link and allow it to refresh your perspective like this image refreshed mine.

Here, Jesus appears to be running out of the tomb, with grave clothes flying in every direction.  I love the energy of this.  I am not arguing that this is what it must have looked like, as much as I am challenging a fresh look at an ancient truth.  Did you nice the holes in His hand and foot?

As you walk along on this side of Easter, are you willing to see the resurrection of Jesus Christ in a new light?  If you are, I am confident it will do nothing but strengthen the “Alleluia” you offer with the angels, son (or daughter) of men.

Singing with the Angels

Sons of men and angels say…

They have been offering Him praise since the dawn of creation.  We came along much later in the timeline.

They are ever-circling His throne to offer that same praise.  We often fail to do so even though we have the same access.

They really do not need to be told to praise Him since they are His servants.  We do, even though we are His sons and daughters.

Still, in response to His resurrection, we are instructed to offer the same simple word of worship, Alleluia!  So will you?

Happy Tuning!

Jesus, I know You are worthy of all the “Alleluias” I could bring.  Help me to sing them, say them, and live them, always in response to Your resurrection power.  I will praise You!   In Jesus name.  Amen.

Like what you finding here?  Fill out the form to the right to get an email with each fresh post and updates of new tools to help you be Resonant.

Please comment below and share if you have found this helpful in your journey of being more resonant.

Below is content available only to Subscribers.  Want to learn more about accessing all the additional material in the Subscriber Content Library, click here, or the Free Member Content Library with some examples of the Subscribers content, click here.

Subscribers, please enjoy this video log!  And everyone else the transcript below.

Video 5.1 Transcript

Welcome to Tuesday Tunings at Resonant 7, where we reflect on the reality of God and resolve to let it resound in our lives, repeatedly. Let’s tune our hearts.

Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia!
 Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
 Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Never has there been a line which should evoke the praises of God’s people more than that which declares our Savior and Lord is risen from the dead.  Give praise to God today for the Good News that death has been defeated!

When you offer your “Alleluia”, it becomes a part of the great cacophony of praise begun in ages past by other mere mortals like yourself, and even further back by those who have circled the throne since before the dawn of time.  Thank Him that you get to join that song.

If you have any joys or triumphs, they are, each and every one, demonstrations of God’s victory best displayed in Christ’s resurrection.  Recount a few right now, and lift them all to Him in praise for what He has done. Then spend the rest of your days adding to them.

Now that is a call to worship if there ever was one. “Start us off heaven, and earth, let’s hear your response.”  How will you echo the praises of heaven today?

Take a few moments to talk to Jesus about what has surfaced in your heart, or just listen to what He is saying to you, then we will sing once more.

Sing

Take the awareness of God’s presence cultivated in these last few minutes into the next ones and beyond.  Until next time, be Resonant.