Direction matters. Ask any explorer whose actually explored something what he or she would list as essential gear, and near the top will always be a compass. When Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden, they set their faces to the East. They were not travelling to somewhere as much as they were walking away from something else. Ever since that tragic day man in his sin has been travelling eastward; walking away from who he was made to be and where he was made to live.
Have you ever noticed how journeys are portrayed in movies? To set out on a journey is to move from left to right on the screen. That is, eastward. To return from a journey is to move from right to left, or westward. Bilbo the Hobbit would call it “there and back again.” As Christians we know it as death and resurrection. All of us who are sons of Adam and daughters of Eve had our faces set to the East. We were dead men walking. Our humanity, our purpose, our glory, and our God were left behind. But something eventually happens if you face East long enough. The sun rises over the horizon. Night gives way to morning. We who once walked in darkness have beheld a glorious light! The Son of God has risen! And all of history has begun to move back toward the West. Jesus died and was raised to new life to bring His people “there and back again”; to set our faces once more to the West, to a garden, to a glory, and to our great God.
On this Resurrection morning let us lift up our faces and our hearts to the risen Savior. His glorious death, resurrection, and ascension is now shining brightly behind us and leading us westward toward home. One day the sun will set and our feet will find their resting place in the new heavens and new earth. We will be home. We will finally be what He created us to be. “From the rising of the Sun to its setting, the name of the LORD is to be praised!” (Ps. 113:3)