Disclaimer: What I’m about to share is my story. My purpose is not to denigrate a church or denomination. It is simply my experience and observation as it relates to my spiritual awakening.
I was raised Catholic. Even so, that was more a rite of passage than a lifestyle. My parents were Catholic. Their parents were Catholic, and so on, and so on. I went through the different practices as I grew up. First Communion, Confirmation. A typical Sunday involved me waking up, getting ready and walking to church by myself. I went in, God took roll, I sat down, stood up and kneeled when everyone else did, then left at the end. The mass could have been in Swahili for all I took with me from the 60 minute experience.
Fast forward to when I was 18 years old. I was in the latter stages of my senior year in high school. My parents had embarked on their own spiritual journey nearly a year earlier. In the latter days of 1982, my parents had “accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior”, whatever that means. Then, they turned their focus on getting me to go to a Protestant church. It was complete culture shock.
Without going into great detail, for the sake of brevity, it was April 4, 1983 when I quietly and privately committed my desire and intention to have a relationship with God. It was the day after Easter. For the first time in my life, at least in a manner that stuck in my heart, I realized that Jesus wasn’t a statue or stained glass window mounted to a cross. He wasn’t a chain around a neck. In His death, He took upon Him my sin. As a Catholic, pretty much in name only, all I ever observed or knew about was His death. There is nothing wrong with that, except that’s not where the story ends.
It was about an empty tomb.
Jesus left behind His grave wrappings, and brought with Him my redemption for my sin. I never really knew that.
Easter is precious to me. It wasn’t just the death and resurrection of Jesus, but my own death and resurrection. My sins were nailed to the cross. His blood was shed as He quietly accepted His fate in order to secure mine. Love isn’t love until there is sacrifice. Life is the result of sacrifice. Love is forged and purified in sacrifice. He did that for me.
He did that for you.