Yesterday was a GREAT day. From my perspective it was great day for at least 2 reasons. Easter and The Masters. Easter because it is THE celebration for believers that marks our faith as distinct from every other faith in the world. The Masters – well, because it is The Masters.
I love Easter. I love gathering with my friends and fellow Christians and celebrating the fact that our Saviour is alive. We remind each other that He is risen. We worship and sing and read Scripture and pray and listen to preaching as we commemorate the One who died for us and then rose again to demonstrate that He had power over the enemies of both sin and death.
I love The Masters. I grew up near the Augusta National Golf Course. I have probably been to the tournament over 30 times. I probably spent 20 hours this past weekend watching the tournament and the Golf Channel talk about the tournament. I am an addict. I admit it. Rehab starts this week but I know that I will relapse about 12 months from now.
As I was reflecting this morning on yesterday there were a number of words that came to mind that, for me, succinctly define and describe why I love both of these annual celebrations. It is not every year that they share the same weekend but when they do my heart overflows. Here’s why…
Drama – Every year I am re-reminded of the powerful drama that unfolded in the days leading up to The Cross. If you have ever seen the movie Passion of the Christ then you know what I mean. It is a story about love, betrayal, greed, torture, forgiveness, friendship, sacrifice, loss, and victory. The Story of Easter is the greatest story ever told.
And every year there is a new drama that is written at The Masters. I always wonder if this year could be as good as last year – but I am never disappointed. The stories that were written yesterday are a case in point. The double eagle. The triple bogey. Bubba golf. I am riveted by every shot. Great great drama captivates me.
Emotion – During worship yesterday I was almost overcome with emotion. Now those of you who know me know that I am not an emo kind of guy. But when I remembered that it was my sin that drove Christ to the cross, that it was His love that kept Him there, that it was the power of the resurrection that enables me to be alive again… I came close to losing it. I was leading in prayer after a song early in the service and found it hard to get the words out. So much emotion.
And then watching The Masters. You would probably laugh at me if you saw me after the tournament. Having been so caught up in the drama of the round, when Bubba hit his incredible gap wedge 40 yard hook, made two putts for par, and then broke down as he hugged his mom and caddie and best friends I just lost it. Can’t explain why I get so emotionally engaged over a golf tournament – just do. It’s The Masters.
History – Fact: Jesus lived. Fact: Jesus was executed at the hands of the Roman empire on a cross. Fact: Jesus was buried in a rich man’s tomb and secured by a mega ton stone. Fact: Jesus rose from the dead and secured salvation for all who will put their faith in Him. There is overwhelming evidence that the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is not just a good story to tell but that it is indeed history. And every Easter we are reminded of this historical event that literally changed the world. And every year I get excited all over again that I serve a risen Savior.
And every year I re-live Master’s history. And get excited all over again about Jack’s triumph in 1986. Mize’s chip in 1987. Phil’s quasi jump on 18 when he won in 2004. Tiger’s chip-in on 16 in 2005. I get excited all over again as I remember the greats of the game that I followed around the course: Arnie, Jack, Seve, Greg, Gary, Fred, Tom, Nick, Ben, Tiger, Phil. If you are a Master’s fan, all you need is first names. It is as if they are good friends. Every year my son and I re-live history as we try to go back 50 years and see if we can name every Master’s champion since 1960. I love Master’s lore – so much history that can be enjoyed again and again.
Community – I love my church. Mostly because I love the community of believers that gather each week at my church. And Easter is always a special gathering. We gather on Friday night for The Lord’s Supper. We gather on Saturday morning for a fun Children’s Event. And we gather on Sunday morning to worship. It is the camaraderie of the community that makes church a special place to fellowship and worship.
I also have a Master’s community. As the tournament approaches each year the buzz starts and keeps on growing as the day approaches. We talk about who we think is going to win. We talk about our plans for Master’s weekend. We talk about what we love about The Masters. We re-live mutual memories together. We talk about where we were when Tiger hit his shot, or Phil got his first win, or what we thought about Rory’s collapse. Now we will talk about Bubba, and the 2 on two, and the 6 on four as we ponder this year’s event in these post Master’s days.
Hope – The last word that I will reflect on is hope. Hope is what Easter is all about. Because of the cross and because of the resurrection there is hope. Hope for the future. Hope for the present. Hope that our past can be redeemed. Hope for those who are helpless and hurting and hungry. Hope for those who are despairing and discouraged and distraught. Scripture says that we have been given “new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3) To live without hope is a sad way to live. Easter is all about hope.
And each year as The Master’s approaches I find myself hopeful. Hopeful that again history will be made. Hopeful that my favorite will win. Hopeful that legends will be created. Hopeful that this year’s Masters will be as fascinating as last years. And when it is over I am already hopeful for next year. I can’t wait. April 11-14, 2013. It is already on my calendar.
The one thing that I have found about both Easter and The Masters is that they never disappoint. There is the drama relived every year. The emotion. The history. The community. The hope. I love Easter. I love The Masters. Yesterday was a GREAT day. And the winner of The Master’s was a brother in the Lord who talked about how special it was to win on the day his Savior rose from the dead. Easter and The Masters. Traditions unlike any other.
I’m just sayin’!