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Attitude Check

I Corinthians 15:50-58

I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

“Where, O death, is your victory?

Where, O death, is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Winston Churchill once said that, “Attitude is a little word that makes a big difference.” It is a true statement and never so obvious in its importance as in our current situation. We can look at the time we have at home as part of the Coronavirus crisis as a burden or as an opportunity to rejuvenate our souls and perhaps do some projects we have put off because we had too many other things “to do.” All of these projects we are doing could be seen as chores or they could be seen as an opportunity to make things in our home a little better.

I’ve been through my closet and rearranged lots of drawers. Laura and the girls are reorganizing the kitchen. And we are repairing some things we had put off fixing. We have found some things we forget we had. We have put together a few boxes of stuff to take to the donation center. We have realized there are things we really don’t need, and, in some cases, we are not even sure where they came from…or what they do!

Now I’ll be honest; our initial view of being stuck at home wasn’t one of excitement for the time to rejuvenate our soul and to do these “projects.” We like everyone else I know were honestly quite upset about our world being so drastically changed. And while we still have our moments when we are less than our “best selves” we are trying hard to be grateful for all we do have. And more than once when I am acting pouty or worse, I remind myself to stop being so surly by stating to myself “Hey Clay attitude check.” I even think I said it out loud to myself but that is another issue entirely.

I once heard a story that shows the importance of attitude about our faith and even how we think about the resurrection. The person who told me the story had a friend who had visited Israel a few years earlier. As part of the trip their travel group visited the garden tomb in Jerusalem where, tradition says, the body of Jesus was placed after His crucifixion. Because of the size of the entrance to the tomb, only one person was permitted to enter at a time. When his turn came to go inside, he encountered a woman exiting the tomb. She said to him in a resigned tone of voice, “It’s not much to see; just an empty tomb.” At that moment, she was obviously unhappy that she had spent so much time in line to view “just an empty tomb.” Fortunately, my friend’s friend had a quick wit about him. He looked at her and replied, “Yes, Ma’am. Isn’t that what it’s all about?" The woman’s demeanor changed almost immediately as the truth of his statement struck her. She replied with a smile, “Why, yes. You are absolutely right!”

Friends, the days after Easter can be a downer. Just like the day after Christmas or the day after our birthday—it seems like all the wait and anticipation has led to the big finale and suddenly in the blink of an eye it is over.

Thank goodness Easter isn’t like that. We just need to be sure our attitude stays focused on the fact that the tomb is empty. And over 2000 years later it remains in that condition—empty. Evil has been defeated. Death has lost its sting.

So, when life gets hard, remember this good news and then share it. Because I promise someone you know needs to hear that good news and the attitude of hope and joy that always comes when we share the message of Easter—the message of the empty tomb.

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