Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter hope

There are many ways to celebrate Easter Sunday and a great many churches in which to celebrate. On our way to the Easter Sunday service at our church we drove by lots of big churches with full parking lots. I could imagine the decorated sanctuaries and full choirs or loud praise bands (with lights and fog) and a heartfelt sermon on the Resurrection. Our church which rents sanctuary space in another church and so usually meets in the late afternoon chose to have a morning service outside this year. "We are a mobile church", our pastor explained to what would have been an overflow crowd of 40 or more in our rented space but barely covered the shaded space under an old tree in a corner of the front yard of the elementary school in the community. Our church has collected coats and hats and mittens for the children of this school in the winter months and now we are collecting granola bars for them. The principal was happy to let us use their front yard which is not normally available on weekends. A high wrought iron gate encircles the grounds and had to be unlocked at the entrance so we could drive through. It was a cool, windy day and some people moved their chairs out of the shade seeking some warmth from the sun. We waited for the person who was offering the opening prayer and then sang our Easter songs to the accompaniment of a guitar. We prayed for our community and then our pastor preached about the "extraordinary ordinary". The Scripture text was the Resurrection story which Mark tells in his gospel. It is one of my favorites. I like the part where the women are on their way to the tomb when they "worry" about how the stone is going to be rolled away so they can anoint Jesus body with spices. Worrying they might have been but they were on their way anyway. God would find a way. I think that is a good message for any day. We are worried  or fearful and sometimes hope feels far off but we are on the way, anyway. We get up, get coffee, pray and read a portion of Scripture worried or not. If it's Sunday we may feel that hope is far off but we get on our way to church. As long as we are on the way, God can meet us. That's where hope comes from. Hope found us Easter Sunday under the tree breaking bread together in the presence of the Risen Christ.

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