This morning I woke up at 4:43am and quickly got dressed and out the door and into my friend’s car. We made a quick Tim Horton’s stop on our way to Crescent Beach before dawn. The mountainous skyline across the bay was already showing definite hints of pink as I ran onto the grassy beach strewn with logs and over a hundred of my university friends. On the other side of the of the crowd of familiar faces stood a few students leading with Scripture readings and songs of worship on the guitar. We gathered close together to hide from the freezing cold, joining in song. We watched as the sky on the horizon grew brighter and brighter, but the sun had not yet appeared. A student came forward and read from Matthew 28:
Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But 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. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
But as he spoke the words “he is risen,” we were blinded by light. Every face around me was lit up with orange rays as suddenly, at those history-changing words, the sun burst over the mountain peaks. I was speechless; the sun had risen at the moment we declared that the Son had risen. It was just like the light I imagine must have burst from the tomb that first Easter Sunday. It is all because Jesus is risen from the grave that this world has any light or hope. I am still astounded by the awe of that moment. I had to take this quick picture.
After another song, the leaders sent us to wander the beach in our own time of reflection before coming back together. I was so joyful over God's hand upon us, and over a living Savior who conquered death that day. I reach a nearby log, and then I turned to face the rest of the beach, and realized that as our group spread, we covered the grassy sand bar. And I was struck by how huge Jesus' victory really was. He didn't only conquer death once, he conquered once for all. Every single one of those people filling the beach was a case of Jesus' victory. You did it! I whispered to him in joy. Look at all these people you have saved! It was worth it!
Praise you, Jesus, for becoming flesh and dwelling with us.
Praise you, Jesus, for being the fulfiller of ancient prophecies.
Praise you, Jesus, for choosing to save us even when we were your executioners.
Praise you, Jesus, for remaining faithful to your promises.
Praise you, Jesus, for conquering the grave and sin.
Praise you, Jesus, for being alive and victorious.
He is risen!