The Good Friday / Easter Sunday weekend is always a marathon condensed into a sprint.
This was especially the case in 2016, as we celebrated nine worship gatherings in two different languages and three different locations.
Here are some random reflections & observations that I pray will give a window not only into what Easter is about, but also what kind of church I have the privilege of serving.
5. At the Good Friday Service, I noticed a group of people enter into the K Zone together. They looked familiar but I didn’t think they were part of the “regular” Good Shepherd Sunday community. Then, in the course of serving communion, I realized: these are our neighbors through the Room In The Inn ministry. Every Friday night from December through March our church hosts fourteen neighbors who are homeless. So on this Friday of all Fridays those friends got to hear some good news while eating the Bread Of Life.
4. On Saturday morning at an Easter party at the Twin Lakes mobile home community where we have leased a unit to use as a “different sort of multi-site,” I met two volunteers from our Latino worship community: a woman from Paraguay and her husband from Peru. That means that in our Latino service, every Spanish-speaking country in South America is represented. Many of us who speak English naively assume that the Latino community is monolithic, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth. I am grateful that Sammy Gonzalez and others leading our Latino service have forged a spirit of unity out of all that national diversity.
3. A friend prayed for me before the Saturday evening service and in his prayer he mentioned something about Easter meaning more than “bunnies and chocolate.” And then I realized: “Oh my gosh! That needs to be in the sermon! My sermon is all about AVOIDING and what better avoidance technique do we have for Easter than making it sweet and cuddly!” So I added some impromptu material (very unusual for me), including the line “Easter is not cuddly. Easter is an earthquake.”
2. At the 8:30 service I met a family from the Indian state of Andar Pradesh. I told them about my travels to Odisha. Then they asked if they could take a photo with me. Of course.
1. All weekend long, my mind and heart was at our new Zoar Campus. “What if no one shows up? What if we’ve done all this planning and spent all this money, and it doesn’t work? What if all my confidence in the lead up has been misplaced?” As it turns out, my early confidence was well placed and my weekend jitters unfounded. Over 400 souls showed up, most of whom had never been to Moss Road before. They kept coming . . .
and coming . . .
and worshipping the risen Savior.