In 1976, my dad authored a book entitled Every Day is Easter in Alabama about the history of the Alabama Easter Seals Society. Easter Seals is a national organization dedicated to helping those with disabilities live full and productive lives. The organization first sold envelope “seals” to raise money for the early work of what would become Easter Seals. The “seals” had the image of an Easter Lily, which became the symbol for the organization. My dad’s book title played off the theme of Easter. Due to the great work of Easter Seals of Alabama, every day was a day of resurrection for persons with disabilities. Every day the organization was giving new life to persons with disabilities.
We have an outstanding Easter Seals organization in Mobile, AL combined with Goodwill, which has a similar mission. Our local organization is called Goodwill Easter Seals of the Gulf Coast, and the founding pastor of Christ United Methodist Church Jeff Spiller and I are proud to serve on their advisory board. One of the faithful members of our church, Frank Harkins, has been the director of this local organization for the past 40 years! The stories of resurrection that are told by Frank, his staff, volunteers, and clients are so inspiring. Interestingly, my dad was one of Frank’s professors at Auburn University. Who would have thought that when I was just two years old that my dad was teaching Frank Harkins and writing a book about Easter Seals and 44 years later, I get to serve on Frank’s Board and learn from him as one of my mentors.
Easter this year is on April 12th. Thousands of people will stream to our church to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We’ll put on our new Easter clothes, sing “Up From the Grave He Arose” (or other resurrection songs), and take pictures of our friends and families. Most importantly, we will celebrate the fact that Jesus Christ defeated sin and death and that because of his incarnation, death, and resurrection, we can live new lives in Jesus. Though Easter is just one day on our calendar, Easter has to be something that is every day for us. One of the most stirring passages of the Bible comes from 2nd Corinthians 4:8-14:
“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. 11 For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you. 13 But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture– “I believed, and so I spoke”– we also believe, and so we speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence.
No matter what we face or what trials we endure, we are people of the resurrection EVERY DAY. Jesus told Mary near the tomb of Lazarus, “I AM the resurrection.” Because of this, we are people of the resurrection! This message is good news for the world. No matter what we are facing, we are living testimonies that Jesus wins, and the world needs to know this EVERY DAY. Give thanks to God for what he’s done for us and remember that every day can be Easter in Alabama and everywhere else!