When our oldest sons were small, our church had a sunrise service on Easter.
Lonny and I would pull our little guys from bed while it was still dark and drive a few miles to the county park. When we’d arrive, there’d be a small gathering of people under the rustic shelter. Little by little, the gathering would grow, until the shelter was pressed full. We’d pull lawn chairs close. Some of us sat on long picnic benches. Logan and Grant curled on our laps, pajama-clad and tousle-headed. They’d chase away sleep by rubbing their eyes.
The praise band brought guitars, and as we wrapped in blankets to keep warm, we’d start to sing. Our voices blended with start-of-the-day sounds of nature, making a pure and powerful praise. And while we were singing, before our pastor stood to speak, the sky would change. The deep, dark night was pushed away. The sky filled with gentle colors–orange and pink and yellow and fresh blue. It was striking.
Daylight washed over the darkness. The sky filled with light.
As I remember those sweet sunrise mornings, I’m still in awe of that sky. I think it’s because it’s a picture of what Jesus has done for me. His love removed my guilt. His grace removed my shame. His mercy washed over my hopelessness.
He replaced my darkness with his light.
I could never earn it. Never, ever deserve it.
It’s a grace gift that’s rich with the most powerful kind of love.
This Sunday, we’ll celebrate Easter. My family has moved and we’re no longer members of the church that celebrates at the park each year. The church service at our new church home will begin at nine. But maybe I’ll get up early. Maybe I’ll sit on the porch in the wee hours to witness the sunrise. Maybe I’ll wait, watch the sky and whisper praise into the daybreak.
Oh Jesus, thank you for what you’ve done for me!