Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
– Romans [8:34]
While in Theological school, I took a course on Sunday worship. The professor, Dr. Heather Elkins, a kind and wise woman, was always a favorite professor. I enjoyed taking her classes and often saw if one would fit my schedule. She is a woman with a gleeful demeanor but has a high level of seriousness when talking about Jesus and all things Christian.
I admired Dr. Elkins because of her sincerity. What she said to us was always sincere and without agenda. She saw things through a lens of a very interesting life.
Many years earlier, she went to theological school when women weren’t ministers or even entered into the study of ministry. When she graduated, no assignment was given to her. So she went home to West Virginia and set up her own church at a truck stop.
There she would sit and minister to those who found her sitting in a booth in the back. This was a foundational time in her life. At her booth, she would listen objectively to those who came to visit.
As women became more acceptable to the Methodist church, she re-entered life as both a minister and a college professor.
But her time as a truck stop minister had chiseled her. You knew you could talk with her because she actually listened. As she had to when sitting across from desperate people in a remote truck stop café. She had learned to avoid judgment and still deliver her message with kindness.
Jesus had caught her early in life, and he was her goal. And nothing was more important to her than his act on the cross to save humankind.
One day, she started class by saying, “Good Morning!” And we all replied, “Good Morning!”
Then she asked us, “Why is it a good morning?”
While we knew she never asked a question without a specific purpose, we still gave her halfhearted answers.
She then told us, “Be careful when you greet your congregation on Sunday morning with the phrase, ‘Good Morning.’, because not everyone will be having a good morning.”
I thought about her comment and knew she was right. Unfortunately, not everyone in church has a good morning on any given Sunday.
The previous Sunday, I was helping a church by running their audio system. I was sitting in an alcove, high above the congregation. I glanced down and saw a woman sitting alone in apparent stress. Her head was bowed, and she was crying. A solitary figure was sitting in a crowded church, yet alone in her life. She was not having a good morning.
Because of Dr. Elkins’ question, I thought about the solitary woman. After church, I went to find her and try to help. Unfortunately, she was gone by the time I got down from the alcove. As I was completing my thoughts about the woman, Dr. Elkins spoke.
She told us instead of saying “Good Morning,” say, “It is a good day because Jesus rose.” This was the thought the solitary woman in the church needed to know; he arose for her and us!
Over the years, this comment has stuck with me, Jesus rose on the third day. No matter how dire things seemed in my life, I always have Jesus’ resurrection as a safe spot. Because Jesus rose, I became free from sin, forgiven, and redeemed through my faith. A mental place I could always use to lift my spirit. Dr. Elkins was right because he rose; every day is a good day.
No matter the difficulty of the day or period of our life, our belief in Jesus’ resurrection is our guarantee of salvation, redemption, and freedom.
When the human heart is tormented by turmoil, Jesus and the resurrection erase the need to worry. His singular act on the wonderful day we call Easter erased the need for all human anxiety.
As we go about our days, either filled with busyness or worry, it can be hard to remember Jesus’ gift for humankind that first Easter. But through our faith, it is always true, no matter our circumstances.