But God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
It’s just another one of those special memories. It was spring in Jacksonville, Florida—number fifteen or so in my life journey. Back in those days, Easter was a big deal, and so was what you wore. We were raised in the tradition that Easter meant a new outfit…it is just what we did. But just like Christmas beliefs and traditions sometimes change…so did this Easter tradition. As we got older…the new outfits got fewer and fewer—but then—for some reason, it happened. One year, when I was in my mid-teens, Momma and Daddy loaded me up in the car, drove across town to a men’s store for the sole purpose of buying me an Easter suit.
I’m not sure what prompted this or a hundred other sacrifices they made for us, but it happened. The name of the store is lost to time, but it may have been Tatum’s—a store known for quality men’s clothing at a good price. So, we arrived and went in and soon I was trying on suits. They say some things never change and that is true. Today when I shop for just about anything it isn’t the label that matters or even the style—price takes the day. It is a matter of practicality and budget. It is true today and it was true even then. Remember, somethings don’t change.
Soon, with the help of our salesperson, we had settled on a subtle green tweed suit. It was a very nice suit and it was on sale. I would later realize that might have been because it was a rather heavy wool material and there wasn’t a lot of demand for that in Florida. Regardless, it was soon mine. But Momma and Daddy weren’t done yet. The salesman led us over to the shirt department and together we picked out a creamy yellow shirt that matched the suit perfectly. But wait…there was more. Next came a tie. To this day I can remember this—my first tie—bought just for me. It was a loosely woven linen striped tie of pastel colors. Again, a perfect match for the new suit and shirt.
There was some tailoring to the done but by Easter I was set and dressed to the nines. That morning, I assembled my new outfit and headed off to church. I was so proud but for a special reason…one you have read in Grits before. I was proud because of all my parents had done to make sure I had a new Easter suit. Why that year? I don’t know. Maybe it was because I was stepping into manhood. All I know is that year, and for several years that followed, the subtle green wool suit, which was too warm for Florida weather, owned a place in my closet. It was special and that was all that mattered. It was a suit of love…a suit of sacrifice.
Looking back their Easter sacrifice became even more special. You see that gift and sacrifice reminded me of the gift and sacrifice that God made for us that first Easter. He gave His best, His only Son to a Roman cross so we could be forgiven and dressed in His righteousness. And unlike my suit that was a little too warm for Florida…His gift was perfect…in more ways than one. A perfect sacrifice for an imperfect world filled with imperfect people. And why? Because of love.
Easter, Resurrection Sunday, is in the rearview mirror now but it would serve us well to remember that every time the sun rises, it reminds us of what happened that Sunday morning so long ago. It is no accident that Christians worship on Sunday…by design it is a celebration of the resurrection. I’m not sure how long I held onto that subtle green, too warm, suit but I have never forgotten the love that bought it for me. And I’m sure I will never forget the love of a God who cared enough to give His very best so that we could call Him “Dearest Daddy.”
Paul, one of the writers of the New Testament wrote a letter to the Christians in Rome. In it, he gave them an Easter suit of sorts, a reminder of God’s great love. He wrote, “But God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Imagine that—broken and unworthy—and yet He loved, and He gave. As we journey this week, don’t leave the message of Easter behind. He loves us, He cares for us, and He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne