I remember colorful Easter baskets, cellophane Easter grass--we had to have Easter grass! Massive Easter egg hunts with my Stephenville cousins--and I mean MASSIVE! I remember big family picnics at the park, good food, lots of laughter, swings, slides, and merry-go-rounds, Uncle Jay and Uncle Dub pulling my hair, and watching my Granny Morris laugh. She had one of those laughs that made her whole belly shake--but it didn't stop with her belly. Her shoulders, arms, and chest too--her whole body laughed. Seems funny I remember that now but when I was really little, I would watch her laugh and it made me feel good somehow. . . Easter back then was a day to set aside all things serious--homework, bills, personal differences, and complicated matters. It was a day to enjoy and celebrate the life we had been given.
I remember Easter Sunday services no matter where we went to church, Sunday School, and resurrection sermons that seemed to last forever when I was a little girl. In later years, those Easter sermons were breathed in and absorbed. I remember communion even before I really understood what it was or grasped its significance. But I most remember Bill Pope leading the congregation with gusto. His powerful voice belted those familiar resurrection hymns--"He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today. . . Christ the Lord is risen today, Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-lay-ay-lu-u-ia." I especially remember this one: "Up from the grave He arose with a mighty triumph o'er His foes. He arose a victor from the dark domain. . ."
Today, those words stop me--"a victor from the dark domain." We don't often think about what happened between Good Friday and Resurrection morning--that dark domain. But that time in between is what mattered most. . .The darkness came as His body and His spirit gave in to death. Evil had won. In a moment, the world changed, but the story wasn't over. While the disciples hid in the upper room and grieved His death--while temple leaders celebrated their riddance of this uncomfortable adversary--an unseen battle waged in that place between the living and the dead. Even in His own Son's death, God had a plan. This was the fight that would make all the difference. In the dark domain, Christ fought against death and sin and evil that eyes can't see. It was the battle for eternity. And Jesus bore all the blows as war raged those three days. But on the third day, He arose a victor from the dark domain...
You see, the Resurrection wouldn't be a victory without the time in between Friday and Sunday. Jesus wouldn't be my Savior except for that time in between. And because of His own battle of the dark domain, He understands mine. Because of the war he waged AND won, my battle can be won too.