You can see the service in its entirety here.
But none of that represented the heart of what happened in and through this congregation over the past weekend.
Instead, what made this Easter memorable was liturgy — not in the senes of a “liturgical service” (we don’t do much of that) but in the word’s most literal translation: the work of the people.
With that definition, here are five “liturgical” moments owned by the people of this church over this past weekend.
1. On Good Friday, 102 GS students and adult volunteers took part in what they called Really, REALLY Good Friday. From 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., the students engaged in servant ministry throughout the city of Charlotte. They packed meals, cleaned trails, prayed over neighborhoods, and sang for residents of a Methodist nursing home. They concluded the evening with a student led Good Friday worship gathering at our Corner Campus.
Here’s how one of the students summarized his experience on Instagram:
Today was a completely life changing experience and I will always live to glorify God. Whether it’s my actions or my faith, it is my duty to spread God’s love to those around me no matter what. God is the God of all people . . . I am a fisher of men, I am a Christian, I am a follower of the Lord of Lords, the God of gods, GOD.
2. While the students became one enormous Serve Team and Worship Gathering, others in the GSUMC family observed a more “traditional” Good Friday service that same evening. Instead of me or one of the other pastors delivering the sermon, however, we had three different people from the church deliver meditations called The Last Supper, The Last Payment, and The Last Stone. I barely said a word the entire night! Plus, we were joined in worship by neighbors from our Room In The Inn ministry, as our volunteers yet again played host to the homeless among us.
Our Latino community had a Good Friday service as well and followed the same format, with three different church members offering reflections in Espanol.
3. The music portion of our Sunrise Service (7 a.m.) was led by a young man (volunteer) whom I first met when he was 12 years old and I moved into his neighborhood. It’s nice to see his connection to the church and his growth as a man of faith and leader in worship.
4. Sixteen volunteers from GSUMC spent the earliest part of Easter Sunday (meaning they met at the church at 6 a.m.) participating in a shoe outreach benefitting people who are homeless in uptown Charlotte. So instead of dressing in Easter suits or wearing new Easter bonnets, these hardy volunteers washed feet, prayed over lives, and distributed shoes to the most vulnerable in our city.
5. The best part of the sermon was the part I didn’t preach. The message concluded with a video testimony from a young man who after struggling with a season of darkness “came to life” at Good Shepherd. After summarizing his journey out of despair and into faith, he summarized, “I guess that’s what a living relationship with Jesus Christ is all about.”
So it is.
And in the case of Easter 2013, it was liturgy that made it happen.