April 16, 2007. A cold Monday morning in a sleepy town that would change the world. I slept in, waking up to find that the world of the night before was nothing like the world of now. A gunman on campus. People injured and dead. Lots of rumors but no one knew anything for sure. What was supposed to be the uneventful last few weeks of my senior year took our quiet corner of southwest Virginia and made it the focus of the world. In many ways, it feels like yesterday. In other ways, it feels like it was an eternity ago.
What we learned that day is that life is fleeting. Evil is all around us and comes when we least expect it. We are like flowers: here one day and gone the next. But for those who know Christ, we can have hope even in the face of unspeakable evil. How appropriate that the 10th anniversary of such a dark day falls on the day when we celebrate the ultimate victory over evil. Jesus Christ willingly laid his life down on the cross to pay the debt that you and I owed but could never pay. A good man payed the debt of evil people. But the story doesn’t end on the cross. The real story is the empty grave on Easter morning. God raised Jesus to life, forever ending the curse of sin for those who know him, and making it so that we can be right with God, both now and for all eternity. Just like Jesus rose, we too will rise.
I can’t think of a more appropriate thing to celebrate on this anniversary. This song is both a powerful reminder of what Easter is all about – and was the song that became our theme in those dark days where we discovered what the new normal would be for us at Virginia Tech.