Easter reminds me of a story by Anthony Burger
by TOM ROWLAND, Cleveland Mayor
Mar 28, 2013 | 380 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It’s pretty common knowledge to those who know me that Easter is my favorite of all holidays, and that Bill and Gloria Gaither’s “Because He Lives” is my favorite song.

Easter is my favorite because it reminds me of the sacrifice made on the cross, the miracles that evolved and the resurrection. And it symbolizes a new, fresh beginning for all of us as spring brings all things new again.

Every Easter season, a story once told to me by the late, great Anthony Burger comes to mind.

Anthony was one of the world’s greatest gospel pianists, traveling with the Kingsmen and then later around the world as part of the Bill Gaither organization.

He was a native Clevelander, son of Jean Burger and the late Richard Burger, and brother to Randy and Clinton. Through the years, Anthony and his family came to be special friends to Sandra and me.

His death in February 2006 at the age of 44 certainly left a void in many hearts and the gospel music industry as well. But his music lives on and he will never be forgotten.

His life could easily be summed up with something he himself once stated: "I am a simple man with a majestic instrument and the power of God behind me." That's the life he lived and the legacy he left.

Anthony’s legacy and his music live on thanks to his wife, LuAnn, through his website and through Bill Gaither and his production of Homecoming Videos, a collection that will forever be in our home.

I think of Anthony often, but especially at Easter because of a story he shared about one of his sons.

The story goes like this:

His young son, about 5 years old at the time, was in a church Easter production about Jesus’ death and resurrection. His son was playing the role of Jesus. His parents were very proud and they were sitting up close to the stage with cameras in hand.

As the little ones from age 3 to 5 years old played out the story, it was time to put Jesus inside the tomb. Naturally, Anthony said it was emotional to see their small child as he re-enacted how Jesus was carried off a cross and placed inside the tomb. As the young Burger was placed in the tomb, the little angels surrounded him. And then suddenly, his son lunged out of the tomb yelling to all, “Ready or not, here I come!”

Anthony recalls he and his wife, and all the children on the stage, were gasping as the young Jesus decided to improvise and change the script!

Later, reflecting on the event, Anthony said the words of his young son took on new meaning to him: “Ready or not, Jesus is coming back!”

From the mouth of a child ... what a terrific message for this holy Easter season — a message of sacrifice, a message of miracles, a message of hope.

Because He lives!

Happy Easter 2013!