At Zuanich Point Park
For this Interactive Devotional, we have chosen five different points at Zuanich Park on the Bellingham waterfront where you can walk and pause to reflect on the resurrection of Jesus. Use the map below to guide you as you either print this page or use a smart phone at the park.
Because gatherings are discouraged (and are irresponsible!) feel free to walk the route at any time throughout the day. For those who simply can’t make it to the park physically, we included a photo of each location with the devotional content so you may participate from home.
1. He Is Risen! by Nancy Taylor
Stand on the lawn and take in the eastern sky over the mountains. God’s mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23) Celebrate God’s ultimate mercy and lovingkindness in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Our Savior.
Take turns declaring his praise one line at a time:
“He is risen!”
“He is risen indeed!”
“Praise him all ye lands!”
“Praise him in heaven above.”
“Praise his holy name.”
On Easter we rejoice that Jesus walked through death to life so that we need not fear death, or anything between us and death.
In the 23rd Psalm David says, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.…You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.”
David’s words foreshadow the banquet in heaven that Jesus, Lord of lords and King of kings, will invite us to someday — the feast that celebrates the Lamb who was slain, the One who conquered all.
David adds, “…My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life,…”
Rest your eyes on the table and imagine the risen Jesus spreading a feast there and inviting you to join him. Accept his invitation. Sit on the benches and share with one another (or count on your fingers if you’re by yourself) ways that you have seen God’s goodness and unfailing love this week.
David ends with, “…and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” The resurrection of Jesus Christ makes this possible. Take a minute to express thanks to God.
2. Anchor In The Storm, by Elizabeth Holland
An anchor is the tool sailors use to keep a ship from drifting away from its safe harbor. An anchor is also an analogy we use to describe what holds us to the truth in times of upheaval and the “storms of life.”
In the gospels, the twelve disciples had dedicated three years of their lives to the hope that Jesus would be the Messiah who would save all of Israel. Jesus was their anchor, and then he died a criminal’s death.
What could they do? What did they do?
According to John 18, Judas had betrayed Jesus. Many of the disciples ran away, or stayed in the garden when the soldiers took Jesus. Peter followed, but then denied he knew Jesus. John stood at the foot of the cross and took Jesus’ mother as his own to care for. Then comes John 20:19-23:
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
It’s a few days after Jesus had died. Easter evening, and most of the disciples were together. They locked themselves in a room, afraid of the Jews.
What do you think they were thinking?
Peter and John had seen Jesus’ body was gone. Mary claimed she had seen Him, but no one else had yet.
What hope did they have in that moment? Where was their anchor?
In the morning, when John saw the body was gone, the Bible says he “saw and believed”, though he didn’t understand yet. His anchor was holding to the rock at the bottom of the harbor.
However, we know from Matthew 27:3-10 that Judas had committed suicide—he cut his anchor entirely and jumped overboard into the storm. He forgot that Jesus forgives, or valued his own ability (or inability) to forgive himself more.
What about Peter? Did his anchor rope begin to fray a bit during this time, before he saw Jesus resurrected? Did he start looking for something else to anchor him until he saw the resurrected Jesus?
What about you:
What are you afraid of this Easter?
What is your hope in this time?
Is your anchor holding you safe in harbor, skidding along the bottom waiting to catch hold, or is it still in your boat, letting you drift wherever the wind and current takes you?
3. The Stone Was Rolled Away, by Jen Milsten
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. Jesus was gone.
The stone sealing the tomb was rolled away- not destroyed, not blown to bits, not chiseled for days- but simply rolled away releasing the captive. Jesus, no longer imprisoned by the literal tomb or death, steps into fresh air, freedom and new life!
Jesus brings the same freedom to all of us. Freedom from worry. Freedom from anxiety. Freedom from the heavy burdens of sin. Freedom from all the things that can suffocate and confine us. And instead, offers us freedom to breathe and embrace life to the full!
Jesus invites us into this glorious and grace filled life of freedom every day. He invites us to share our burdens with Him and likewise He wants to share freedom with us.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Find a stone from the ground and pick it up. While you feel the cold weight of the stone in your hands, bring your burdens before Jesus. Offer Him all that bogs you down, entangles your heart and ensnares your mind. When you are ready, cast the stone far into the bay. Release it. Step into the Light. Feel the wind on your face. Inhale a deep breath. Embrace the freedom that Jesus rightfully won by conquering sin and death!
The stone was moved. The tomb was empty. Jesus was and is victorious! Rejoice! Celebrate! (Do happy dance!) He is Risen!
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
4. From Loss To The Cross, by Christy Wilson
The memorial in front of you calls on us to think about loss.
This past Lenten season, a traditional time of voluntary loss, we all unexpectedly experienced a lot of sudden, involuntary loss.
* Reflect on a loss you have experienced during this Lenten season (aka during the Covid-19 crisis.)
Unfortunately, loss is not exclusive to Lent, or to this particular time in which we find ourselves. Loss is a part of each and every one of our lives. We all lose things. We may have sent something away and it didn’t return… or someone may have left us, intentionally or unintentionally… or maybe we never truly had a thing, and we’ve always wanted it.
Loss is hard! It can feel like death… it weighs us down, it hurts.
* Reflect on a loss that has felt like death… maybe it is a death.
I think our losses are a reminder of our longings for God. We experience loss when we bump up against the brokenness of this world to which we are tethered. We long for permanence, perfection, peaceful presence… we long for God and the completion of His eternal Kingdom. As Paul says in Romans 8, all of creation groans for this. But we live in this current world, where loss is still an everyday reality.
When our losses remind us of our longing for God, they can serve a great purpose; they can propel us to the cross! For at the cross we find a great many comforts in our groanings. We find a God who empathizes with us in our pain. For God knows all about the pain of loss! From the moment His creation first chose themselves over Him, to every moment that they do so today, God feels and mourns the loss of His most precious delights.
But also at the cross, we find a place to lay our losses. For the God who feels our every loss with us, also defeated that ultimate form of loss, death, when he lost his Son upon the cross, and then raised him from the grave! That is what we celebrate today on this Easter Sunday!
* Think of a loss you feel ready to lay at the foot of the cross.
Loss still hurts us, weighs us down, can even knock us down… it still will tomorrow, even when Lent is officially over. But we will not bow down to loss. It does not reign over us. And if we follow God’s lead, we will let our losses propel us to the cross… for that is the path of our ‘Safe Return.’ We come to the cross, we lay our burdens down, and we rejoice that we are no longer lost ourselves! Praise Jesus!
Listen to “Heaven Song” by Phil Wickham sometime for an anthem about our longings.
5. The Tree Of Life, by Chris Eltrich
Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
The Bible begins with a Bang! (no pun intended, but a pun nonetheless). The Triune God creates, and declares, all things very good—including his image-bearers, human beings.
In Genesis 2, we are introduced to the intimacy of human beings and Yahweh. Humans are given vocation to rule over the created order and they would do this in concert with God. Their very life was to be drawn from God and this life is represented in the Tree of Life. As long as they stayed close to God—eating of the Tree of Life—they would have eternal life.
But it doesn’t take long for things to go off the rails—less that three full chapters, to be exact! Humans rebel against Yahweh by seeking their own autonomy, their own agenda, redefining their own definitions of what is good and evil.
As an act of mercy, God took away access to the Tree of Life by casting humans out of the garden and guarding the Tree of Life with angelic, sword wielding, sentries. I say an act of mercy because being able to live forever in a fallen state where we perpetually hurt one another, suffer, and mourn, would be a living hell!
But we know this all too well, don’t we? Even as I write, a tiny organism named, in layperson’s terms, the Coronavirus, has crippled the world’s economic engine, destroyed lives, and caused debilitating anxiety and fear. We come to this moment in time all too aware of our vulnerability. On top of all that is happening to us, we also know the truth of our own contribution to the sin of the world.
We groan with all creation awaiting for rescue! We cry out with the apostle Paul, Miserable man (person) that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
Easter provides us with the answer to that very question. Jesus set us free.
Jesus rose and with his resurrection, he has given us a foretaste of the resurrection life that now awaits us. One day the new kingdom will come. One day the Tree of Life will be made accessible to us—but this time, our very hearts will be made new. This time, we will not only live, but we will thrive in wisdom, beauty, and blessing.
So lift up your eyes to the rising sun. It is not only a new day, it is a new world! Jesus has risen! The Tree of Life awaits! And that changes everything.