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We have experienced the joy of Easter in the city, the country, the desert, and the beach, but experiencing Easter in Mt. Baldy is one of our favorite memories. We lived there for eight years, and it quickly became a tradition for our five young grandchildren. They came up from the cities below and spent part of Holy Week with us preparing for Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter.
They helped Granddad build the cross from branches found on the forest floor our first year. They climbed the hill and planted it firmly. Stones were placed around it to keep it steady. Sometimes repairs were needed, but most of the time the cross seemed to withstand the forces of wind, rain, and snow.
Kimball draped the cross with a purple cloth. It stood humbly on the mountainside above his study that we called the Servant’s Quarters. The children would run up the hill and place fresh wildflowers that grew alongside the creek beneath the cross. We had our daily meditations during Holy Week in sight of the cross.
On Good Friday he removed that cloth and replaced it with a black one. The children’s flowers lay wilted and decaying ‘neath the cross, but when they joined us for this day of quiet, they surprisingly seemed to understand its significance.
On Easter morning just at daybreak, Kimball climbed the hill again and took the black cloth off the cross, and draped it with a white one. He buried the dead flowers and replaced them with Calla Lilies from our flower garden. Having done this, he began yelling to all of God’s creatures, “He’s alive! Christ Jesus has risen! He has risen indeed! Hallelujah! Thanks be to God!
Throughout the day our family would pause and look up to the cross and feel the love and sacrifice it represented. ~ May you, also feel the joy of Easter!
Agape, Pam Coburn
When I was a pastor, I wrote a song for our youth choir to sing on Easter. The keyline was, “Shout hallelujah, it’s Easter day.” This is what I am thinking about as I put my thoughts together for this Spring Issue of THE CALL.
During this year of sheltering in, Pam and I have experienced more quiet time being still and remembering special times with our family. We missed their birthdays, the birth of our 4th great-grandchild and the 1st great-grandson of my late brother, Tommy, as well as the holidays that usually brought us together in joyous love.
We have come through a difficult year, but Easter is coming, it’s time to shout ‘Hallelujah!’ It’s time to praise God for our feelings of HOPE! Memories take us back to 1972, our first Easter in Claremont, CA. Traditions came with us from Tennessee, along with 4 children and our dog named Christmas. We actually had a rabbit named Easter later that year. That’s another memory, for now, I want to take you back to Easter Week.
Our tradition of stripping the branches from our Christmas tree and saving its pole for Easter began our Easter Week celebration. After the celebration of Palm Sunday with our children parading down the aisle of our church, with their palm branches, it was lunch and an afternoon of transforming the Christmas tree pole into a cross. Kimball Boyd (9 yrs. old) sawed the pole and Collie (7yrs. old) tied it with a strong rope and put it back in the Christmas tree stand. I placed it where the Christmas tree stood only months before. Pam draped it with a soft purple cloth. Kathy (5 yrs. old) and Cari (almost 4) picked flowers to go around it. It was the gathering place for our Holy Week devotions.
I remember the day so well. It was early morn on Good Friday. Before the children woke up I took away the soft purple cloth and draped a black one over the Cross. The flowers lay dead but I did not move them. Our boys had experienced this, and maybe Kathy remembered it too, but for Cari, to see that change broke her little heart as she ran to her room, threw herself on her bed, and cried. I followed her and sat next to her, stroking her hair and wiping her tears. “But Punkin,” I told her, “I have good news for you. On Easter, Jesus is going up to heaven to live with his heavenly Father and he left something for you.” “He did?” she said, “He did!”, I said. “He left his love and his spirit in you!”
With that Good News, she suddenly burst from her room proclaiming to all that she was going to ‘Hab Church!’ She and her big brothers turned our living room into a church while Kathy went to get the ‘people’ (Mooey, Mooey Cow, Raggedy Ann, and her brother, Andy, Mrs. Beasley, and Baby Tenderlove), plus our dog, Christmas. The candles were lit and the preaching began! Cari, with the cutest little speech impediment at that time, was the preacher.
“Now eberbody, today is a bad day. I don’t know why they call it a good day cause it don’t seem like it is to me. You see ‘dem dead flowers is dead, but on Easter morning they will be all growed new! And you see that old black ‘aterial on the cross, on Easter it’s gonna be white like snow. I know cause my Daddy tolded me so. “You don’t hab to be sad,” he tolded me…he promised me that Jesus libs for-e-ber!”
After her child-like sermon, Cari Beth led her congregation, with Kathy, playing their toy piano, in singing the Cherub Choir’s special for Easter, “He Libs! He Libs, Da Jesus Libs today!” Just as her Daddy assured her, our God assures us that He Lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today. He walks with us and talks with us. You ask me how I know He lives. He lives within our hearts.
A simple, yet profound story that concludes with the news that Easter is about hope! Easter is about unconditional LOVE! Easter is about joyous praise of God ~ HALLELUJAH! Come on everybody, sing it with me!
He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today
You ask me how I know He lives
He lives within my heart!
Agape at Easter,
Kimball & Pam
Seeing the snowcapped mountains last week over Claremont reminded us of one Easter we had while living in Mt. Baldy. It was unlike any we had ever experienced. There were no Easter flowers but Mother Nature surrounded us with beauty. There were no comfortable pews but we had big rocks that could seat more than one and we shared quilts and blankets for comfort. We had no pipe organ, only guitars, but their music, along with our voices, echoed throughout the mountainside. You could almost feel the movement of the trees and brush, the squirrels and deer joining in the songs of Easter with us.
All of Mother Nature seemed to come to a hush as Kimball began to preach the Easter message. The clouds floated around us like angels dancing and rejoicing. The sun began to peek over the snow-covered mountains. It was cold out in the elements but we were warmed by the Holy Spirit.
The old rugged cross stood before us but somehow the sting of it was taken away. As we gathered close to each other, tears came to many. I noticed a child wiping his mother’s tears in sweet love. “Because He Lives” never sounded so powerful.
Alleluia, Christ is Risen!
May your Easter be Happy and Blessed, Kimball and Pam
Please take time as you read this scripture to let it sink in. Read it several times knowing it was written for you today. Let it lift you to a rejoicing that will take you beyond depression and discouragement.
“… On account of his (God’s) vast mercy, he has given us new birth. You have been born anew into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. You have a pure and enduring inheritance that cannot perish – an inheritance that is presently kept safe in heaven for you. You now rejoice in this hope, even if it’s necessary for you to be distressed for a short time by various trials.” (I Peter 1:3-6, CEB)
Hope is what Easter is about. It didn’t change the Roman Empire’s domination system in Jesus’ time. But hope started happening – a new way of understanding and receiving God’s love as a gift of grace and a new way of living by forgiveness and love. People began to feel the hope of God’s Kingdom come and Will be done. They had something to live for and a way to do it.
Let Easter be a time of hope for you. I’m not saying all you have to do is ‘pack up your troubles in an old kit bag and smile, smile, smile.’ I’m saying to accept the living hope that God is offering you. It’s your inheritance, your eternal life which will give you the strength and courage to live boldly and joyfully in this life. Let hope guide your daily living and you will see that silver lining behind the clouds. Let hope guide your daily praying and God will answer with the blessed assurance – “I am with you always.”