They really do never get old.
Easter Sundays, that is. I suppose this is my 29th of them in full time ministry. I doubt any one of them has been THE BEST EVER, but without the sum of them, I’m sure my soul would have starved.
This Easter, these five moments stick with me:
1.The music was a smash. The band started us off with a bluesy adaptation of Johnny Cash’s Ain’t No Grave. Johnny would have been envious of our vocalists.
2.The photo booth was a hit. Inspired by something I’d seen a Texan church do at Christmas, we set up Happy Easter photo booths at both campuses. Our team took my very general idea and upgraded it with some very specific touches and a heavy dose of friendliness. It was our way of making sure guests realized, “they’ve thought of me and what will make this day memorable. It was such a hit that here is a picture of my own family PLUS my father-in-law and some friends from way back in Monroe NC days.
3. While hanging out at the Welcome Center with one of the members of our Church Board (which I now do instead of Speed Shaking Hands), I mentioned that I was astounded at the recent offerings. SINCE March 24, when we gave away $160,000 to partner organizations in the battle against human trafficking, our regular offerings have picked up dramatically — over $100,000 per week. The Board member said the most surprising yet sensible thing: “I know so many people who come to this church precisely because we do those big generosity projects with our money.” Amen.
4.When I went to the Y on Monday morning (Easter Monday is a GS staff holiday), I saw a woman who is quite new to the church AND whose previous church background had been thoroughly traditional, completely old time religion. With a beaming smile, she told me: “I got it on Saturday night at the service. I figured out that you all have just update methods but kept the message the same, and I have to say that I’m impressed.” At Good Shepherd we call it “speaking the old through the new” and she got it exactly right indeed.
5. Believer Baptisms on Easter Sunday. Well, since that sacrament is the entire Passion weekend in a moment — death, burial, resurrection, new life — how can you not preach after that?
6. Easter Monday off? With perfect Carolina blue sky & a good book? Awesome.