Every Easter when the choir and the acolytes walk down the aisle and the congregation sings “welcome happy morning,” I am reminded of an Easter morning when I was around 12 years old. My brother and I were asked last minute to be acolytes for the packed Easter service. We were both excited simply because it meant that we were guaranteed a seat in a standing-room only service! To my surprise, I was asked to hold one of the crosses adorned with beautiful flowers. I immediately felt too small and not strong enough and definitely unworthy. I was expecting to hold a candle as I was a new acolyte to begin with.
As I walked down the aisle and people bowed to the cross that I was holding, tears streamed down my face as I understood a small glimpse of what it might have been like the day Jesus rose from the dead. The song “Welcome Happy Morning” was ringing in my heart as well as in my ears that Easter morning, and I was overwhelmed with awe.
Every Easter, as I remember that feeling of that 12-year-old girl and as I see the acolytes walking the crosses down the aisle singing and praising his name, I’m reminded of that feeling that I felt that day. And how amazing is it even today, as his child, I am guaranteed a place in heaven that he has prepared for me! Praise Jesus that I am not strong enough or worthy enough, and he died for me anyway. He chose to take on the sins of the world and conquer death for me and for you. I realize this is Thanksgiving season, not Easter, but today I am thankful for Jesus: thankful that he died on the cross for my sins, thankful that he really did conquer death, and thankful that we can sing every day, “Welcome Happy Morning!”
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us and we are his;
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Amen.