How was your Easter, or Resurrection Day, Yesterday? Mine was beautiful, although not much went according to plan. I started the morning off with a community Sunrise service..in which I forgot that it was my job to arrange the service and get people to handle various parts of the service. Nothing like staring out at a sea of expectant faces looking at you, then suddenly realizing you have no order of worship, or songs etc. But thankfully Pastor Tom handled the music, and Bob Schaeffer, our speaker did a great job. Then on to my service, where we traditionally have a brunch combined with worship, which includes a blossoming of the cross. Brunch went well, and it was a nice service. We had some funny moments with the music as Jeremy and Meg tried to negotiate chords and notes between guitar and piano. They always do a great job, but there was a bit of laughter with a couple of songs. They both are great worship leaders, but this was the first time they had led together. But even with the minor chord confusion the song service was joyful and beautiful. Then came the blossoming of the cross. Usually we cover the cross in flowers from our gardens, but due to recent flooding and morning frost the cross was sparsely covered. A couple of folks were able to bring in flowers and my resourceful wife went outside before the service and got some wild flowers from the church yard. Oh and I forgot to mention that my daughter had trouble with her brakes on the way to church, so I was dealing with that early on. Then she got sick and Mary, my wife, had to take her home before the service. So any visions of a high powered super duper, cutting edge, crowd drawing Easter services quickly vanished. They won’t be writing about this in church growth magazines.
But it was one of the more beautiful days of celebrating the risen Lord I have ever experienced. We may not have wowed the crowds and mystified the seekers. I may not have preached an unforgettable message. But Jesus showed up in a beautiful way. Our service was pretty regular. Pretty unspectacular. And pretty awesome. I’ve been to a lot of Easter services, but only a few really got me in touch with the resurrection of our Lord in such a profound way. Why was it profound?
First, it was profound in it’s simplicity. For example, a simple wooden cross sparsely decorated with the flowers of the field, showed a depth of love from the people that you just can’t manufacture. I loved watching the children hang little wildflowers and Tulips on the cross. I’ll take that over a cool video any day.
Second, it was profound in it’s joy. Everything from singing a birthday song to Lauren, to clapping together when Theresa announce that her ailing grandfather, for whom we had been praying, was now getting better, to hearing the congregation sincerely repeat, “He is risen indeed!” as the service began. The joy was not pumped with hype and pretense. It was simple, pure and real. We have a church that truly loves Jesus and believes he is alive forever.
Third, it was profound in it’s impact. No, we didn’t baptize anybody. There was no flooding of the altar. Doggone it we didn’t even get a truckload of guest names to follow up on next week. But God’s people were inspired to live as those who have been risen with Christ. My Twelve year old friend Mike, who I’m training to preach, came up to me, after the service, and said two things that almost bring tears. First, he said, “I’m excited about being a preacher some day.” Second he said, “Can we start visiting the nursing home? I feel bad for those people who have nobody to visit them.” Mike wants to live the risen life. He wants to bring life to those who need it. Did I mention that Mike is twelve years old? He wants to bring the gospel to people who are too often forgotten.
Finally, it was profound in it’s brokenness. Like I said the services I attended were both a little imperfect, but still very powerful. Isn’t it just like our risen Lord to come to us in our brokenness and bless us. That’s what the story of the resurrection is all about. The risen one showing up in our midst, and blessing us just as we are. It makes me think of his first appearance to his disciples. They were hiding in an upper room, broken, afraid and in need of his presence. Then he walked through the wall and said, “Peace be with you.” May we allow the risen one to walk through our walls and bless us in our beautiful brokenness.