Have you ever wondered what a difference a day makes?

given on Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012

Have you ever wondered

         One question from a friend is all it took:  Have you ever wondered what a difference one day makes?  One question, just one has circled in and out of my head for days, weeks now.  Have you ever wondered what a difference a day makes? 

         Somehow I knew there was a song with that phrase in it, and sure enough there is.  I had to look it up thinking it might be a hymn.  Sure enough, the lyrics are there and listed by three different soloists.  And the words are not found in our hymnals.  At first, I thought maybe it was a religious song:

What a difference a day makes

Twenty-four little hours

brought the sun and the flowers

Where there used to be rain

Then there was the second stanza:

My yesterday was blue, dear

Today I’m a part of you, dear

My lonely nights are through, dear

Since you said you were mine

Nope.  This was not a song from any hymnal nor one of the more contemporary Christian lyrics.  This was another love song.  Still there was something about the song that caused me to wonder if I could pull a “Whoopie Goldberg” like she did in Sister Act. (Remember how she took a song off the charts and, due to the setting, transformed it into a spiritual that rocked the sanctuary?)  Could the song reflect Easter’s story?

Read back over that first stanza:

What a difference a day makes

Twenty-four little hours

brought the sun and the flowers

Where there used to be rain

Not only could that stanza refer to creation, it could refer to the morning that Christ arose and was found missing from the tomb.  We have heard the story so many times throughout our lives, and we have used the same visual images in those four lines to express what the resurrection is.

Actually most of that song can be heard through the context of Easter morning and can relate to our experiences as a Christian.  If you remove the obvious references to an intimate relationship between two people, you can see God’s hand in the words.

What a difference a day makes

There’s a rainbow before me

Skies above can’t be stormy

Since that moment of bliss, . . .

It’s heaven when you find [God} on your menu

What a difference a day made

And the difference is you (referring to Christ)

What a difference a day makes

There’s a rainbow before me

Skies above can’t be stormy

Since that moment of bliss . . .

It’s heaven when you find [God} on your [side]

What a difference a day made

And the difference is [Chirst]. . .

Back to the Easter story.  As much as the lyrics are really for a form of pop music, they set one to thinking—especially when my friend asked me that question.  One day, Resurrection Day, has spectacularly revolutionized a world that had become so legalistic, so corrupt, so unfeeling that God stepped in.

For three years Jesus had quietly traveled around the region teaching, preaching, and healing. The Ten Commandments that God has given to Moses had not been able to keep the people in order.  What could God do?  Over the generations since Adam and Eve, the commandments were repeatedly broken and despite the efforts of the faithful.  Yet God never gave up believing in us.

In one quiet night in Bethlehem, a baby was born.  God was at work to re-establish a new covenant with humanity.  A day did make a difference, even if another 30 years were needed for this child to mature and begin the three years of work to heal the broken relationship with God.  In that one day, one birth, laid the hope of a heavenly father.

What a difference a day does make!  Living in an agriculture area, we know that one day can make all the difference in the world when the seed is planted, the sun is out and a day of rain is needed.  We know that depending on the weather, one day can make or break an entire year’s crop.  We know that planting a tiny seed is an exercise in faith.  We know that faith makes a difference, too.

God planted the seed of faith over and over again.  The conditions for that faith to grow depended on so many conditions, but the one condition that has made faith grow the most is the story of Jesus.  The life of this historical figure is filled with mystery, filled with awe, and filled with love.  God refused to give up on us, and the story of Jesus life is the good news that has made the difference.

Lent is a season of reflection.  Has the good news made a difference if our lives?  Have we worked to keep the good news today’s news?  Have we upheld our Christian responsibilities?  Has our faith made a difference in the days of our lives?

Today, Easter morning, the sun rises, the birds sing, the scents of heaven ride the breezes, and families reunite for a day of celebration.  When the women went to the tomb, they were aching from their loss, yet the job needed to be finished.  Easter morning was not one of joy and excitement for them, they were simply following the culture’s tradition and doing what they knew had to be done.

The disciples were gathered in a locked room.  Their sorrow was overshadowed by fear.  What were they to do?  How could they continue teaching, preaching and healing when their own teacher had been crucified?  Easter was not the bright, joyful new beginning of our culture.  The difference in their day soon became the difference in our Easter celebration.

What difference does a day make?  The difference of that first day of Christ’s resurrection has made a difference for eternity.  We have one rule to follow:  Love one another.  We have one seed of faith to nourish and it will grow like a mustard seed.  We have one gospel to share with the world.  We know the difference that the resurrection we celebrate each Easter makes the difference of an infinite lifetime.  We know that death brings sorrow in our lives, but death no longer ends life.

If you have ever wondered what a difference a day makes, now you know.  The difference a day makes depends on the day of resurrection.  The difference a day makes is the difference of earthly life and eternal life.  The difference a day makes is the difference of frustration and anxiety versus excitement and joy.  The difference is in life itself.

Next time you find yourself wondering what a difference a day will make, stop and think about the difference a day makes even after crucifixion on a cross.  The difference is priceless.

Dear Loving Father,

         Erase from us all doubts about our faith.

         Help us realize life is “loving one another.”

         Help us demonstrate the difference faith makes.

         Let a day in our life be witness to others.

         Guide us to speak to those still wondering.

         Open their minds to hear your story.

         Thank you for transforming each one of us.

         Thank you for giving us your Son.

         –Amen

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