I reckon everyone undergoes a walk that they always remember, a stroll that defines who they are and who they become. Maybe it’s a walk down the center aisle of a country Baptist church into a lifetime covenant of holy matrimony. Maybe it’s the somber trudge behind a casket to a pile of earth ready to seal the coffin in the ground. Maybe it’s the barefoot amble, hand-in-hand, of an elderly couple along the beach, as they watch their grandkids frolic in the surf and realize the blessings of a full life. Maybe it’s the chain-jangling gait of a convicted criminal making the lonely walk towards the barb-wire encircled front gate of a maximum security prison and a life behind bars.
Whatever your memorable walk, its cadence finds its rhythm in the most powerful steps ever trod in history. These steps occurred about two thousand years ago.
At some point on that very first Easter morning, a violent earthquake rattled Jerusalem, shaking the darkness and a stone rolled away from Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb, creating an opening. The first slivers of morning light streamed into the entrance of the tomb, beckoning the inhabitant to come forward. Somewhere towards the back of the cave, where he lay on the carved stone amid a pile of linen strips, Jesus of Nazareth rose and stood, still shrouded in darkness but seeing the light.
As his eyes adjusted to the shafts of light calling him, I have no doubt that he understood the enormity of the moment. As he contemplated this walk, he surely grasped the severity of the stroll he was about to undertake. I wonder if he waited a moment. I wonder if he prayed to the Father. And then, with steps equally purposeful, deliberate and triumphant, he walked out of the tomb. Out of darkness. Out of misery. Out of sorrow. Out of regret and pain and despair and any other heartache the world tries to throw our way. And he walked into the morning light. Into freedom. Into hope. Into joy. In fact, as the rays of the rising sun touched the face of the Risen Son, he not only walked into all those things, he became them. Hope walked out of the tomb. Freedom danced from the grave. Joy stepped out of darkness. And with one triumphant, glorious, powerful stride, love won.
And for every blessed walk we ever have to make on this earth, whether as lighthearted as a dance through sprinklers or as heavy as a trudge toward a terminal diagnosis, we also can walk into the light, the glorious beams from the throne of grace, where sits the Risen Savior, reigning on high, in majesty and splendor.
And I simply pray that my steps today might also be away from the darkness of night and into the beauty of light.
“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” I Peter 2:21