What a blessing it was NOT to have an alarm wake me up yesterday morning. Holy Week, from the Seder Meal, to celebrating first Communion on Maundy Thursday, to the living drama on Good Friday. All were experiences that helped me along through the Passion story of Jesus.
I do have to admit, Easter Day was a whirlwind...no doubt fueled by the Holy Spirit.
4 services...back to back took me away! After the first service and breakfast, there was no slowing down. I'm so happy that I dug out my trumpet to play with other brass folks at the later services. And singing with the choir, is always fun! I felt a joy and an energy that carried me through the morning. I hope those who came to worship...felt that joy, that surprise, that excitement of the empty tomb. I hope that people left looking for and seeing the Living Christ within their midst...that folks have the opportunity to celebrate the 50 days of the Easter Season. That new life is seen and celebrated everyday...as we die to sin thanks to God's amazing gift to us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I hope, too, that worship is a place where people feel compelled to return to. Being present in worship year round, I can see the ebb and flow of worship attendance. And when the sanctuary is filled to the gills on Easter I celebrate that...am I frustrated that people don't attend more regularly...well....I don't think frustrated is the word, I think sad is more the feeling. I love worship, hearing God's word, being reminded through the confession and forgiveness that God loves me and forgives me...and I celebrate the meal at the Lord's Table as yet another reminder of God's unconditional love and grace and the promise that there is room for everyone. I think what saddens me is that not everyone feels that joy or feels the draw to be strengthened and nourished in body, mind and spirit each week.
I don't know where I would be without my faith community. They celebrate the good times and help carry me through the tough times, all because that is who God calls us to be.
I was talking with my friend a few weeks ago about being strong. She said, "You are strong...remember, you just moved 1/2 way across the country to a new home, a new congregation a new beginning....and you did it on your own!" That's true, to an extent, that it was just me and the cat who moved, yet it was the faith community at Trinity that was carrying me and transporting me to this new place. There were 1,400 people praying for me, preparing the way for me, and some of them even came out to Indiana to get me. There was and is a faith community in place...and I felt it from the first card I received in Indiana...and the first facebook friend request. I knew God was calling me here...because people here were extending the love and grace of God to me by the way I was and am continued to be welcomed in this place.
I pray that those who were gathered for worship together throughout this past week have the opportunity to gather again and again and again. I pray that the community in Christ we feel in this place is what drives us out to tell others about the new life in Christ. I pray that this community continues to reach out and welcome all to hear the good news that Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!