Every year Easter takes on new meaning. There was the year when the children were little and they gleefully chanted, “HE is alive, He IS alive, He is ALIVE!” and my heart was reminded of the amazing miracle of the resurrection. Then there was the year when my own son was coming of age and the thought of God allowing Christ to surrender himself to die a painful criminal’s death, overwhelmed me with the sacrifice of all of Jesus’ parents.
A few years ago, the Holy Season took on yet another dimension. It was one of gratitude for the yielded body of our loving Lord. “This is my body, broken for you.” You see, that year had been a year like no other for me personally. In May when the horrifying test results came back that, yes, indeed I did have a malignant lump in my left breast…and that it was not even the “nicest” form of cancer…you know the contained cancer, but rather the whippy-off wildfire spreading one, I experienced for the first time, the reality of the hymn writer who penned the words of yielding “your body and soul”.
My “soul” had belonged to my Heavenly Father for years, almost as long as I can remember. But my “body” was another story. Sure, I had yielded to my body as a youth to God, trusting Him to take me wherever He wanted me to go in life, but this was quite another sort of challenge. I hadn’t really thought a great deal about it. My body simply seemed to be the “earthly house” that my soul had been given to inhabit. Now, for the first time, my Saviour’s words of surrender in the Garden, “Not my will, but yours be done”, echoed through my mind with eternal consequences. You see, a yielded body meant that if this cancer were to take over my body and my body in turn was to give out, my spirit would then be transported out of this world and into its Heavenly home.
Now, “What’s wrong with that?” you might ask. “Isn’t that after all what we are all aiming for?!” True!…good point! However, like most human beings on this planet, I wanted to live to see my children married, dance with my grandchildren and retire early so that I could do winter missionary sprints with my hubby. So saying that I would yield my body to what God would see fit to do with it for His Glory took on enormous ramifications! It brought me to my own personal garden. God and I were sitting there and He was asking me to trust Him with my body. The example spread before me was that of my Big Brother, Jesus, saying those precious Easter words of surrender, “Not my will, but your be done”…”This is my body, broken for you.”
You see, Jesus had counted the cost. His ministry was just taking off! He was a young man, just thirty-three years of age. He had a promising future, helping scores of people who thronged to Him for help and instruction. They adored Him! Why they had just thronged Him and had sung to Him, proclaiming Him their King! On the other hand if He was to surrender His body and soul, there stood the painful, excruciating death of the cross. If He was to surrender His physical body, He knew what awaited Him…the shame, the horror and the weight of our sins, my sins, being thrust upon His sinless shoulders. But He loved us so much; He yielded His body and soul! He also knew that beyond the grave existed a life much more victorious for all of us! So He gave up His body, His earthly container! He surrendered it for you! He surrendered it for me! That is, plain and simply put, the Easter message.
And for me, that year, the surrendered body of our Lord Jesus took on more meaning than it ever had. You see, my Brother Jesus, who had roamed both the streets of Heaven and of earth, now sat at our Father’s right hand and
He knew what was best for me. I could rest in that…most of the time, when I chose to.
Gini Larson is a graduate of Aldersgate College and have attended various Free Methodist Churches over the years. She now lives with her husband in Tweed , Ontario.