Death is the doorway to Resurrection. Something has to die in order for new life to spring forth. So many of Jesus’ metaphors signaled that he was and is the game changer. No more business as usual. Yet, I’m pretty sure many of us are coming to this Easter celebration like we have so many in the past, trying to hold it together, celebrate a vague hope that somehow life might magically get better, and hope when we keel over, we somehow keel over into heaven—wherever and whatever heaven is.
Jesus didn’t spend a lot of time and energy talking about the sweet by and by—his game changing message was the here and now. The life to come was breaking into real time as he spoke and acted. The New Testament declaration is that the Holy Spirit picked up the baton and game changing transformations are here for the taking…with a couple of caveats…we have to want it and we have to be willing to die to our way so we can be healed. Jesus was not working from the top down—he was all about the inside out.
Jesus also indicated that the optimal condition for new life to break out was within the context of community. He already established the principle that two or three of his followers would discover – He would be in the midst of them in a way not possible when they are apart from one another.
Sunday we’re all going to have a chance to make our own “cardboard sign.” Don’t worry…you don’t have to stand up with it. We’ll also break bread together, the symbolic act of community. This isn’t communion—we’ll celebrate the Lord’s Supper Sunday, April 8.
There are two important ways to optimize the Easter celebration. Join us tonight for the Walk to the Cross. It takes about 30 or so minutes, but you go at your pace and can linger. The Walk to the Cross will be open from 6pm until 8:30pm. Then there is the Good Friday service at the Sonoma Community Church at 181 Chase Street at 12:15pm. It is a service of dying, so not real popular. But, because we’re don’t walk through Good Friday, few of us truly taste the joy of resurrection Easter morning. That’s just the way it is.
God be with us the next 96 hours of Holy Week
These are the two very powerful passages I’m reading and reflecting upon:
When John the Baptist heard in prison about the things that Christ was doing, he sent some of his disciples to him. “Tell us,” they asked Jesus, “are you the one John said was going to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus answered, “Go back and tell John what you are hearing and seeing: the blind can see, the lame can walk, those who suffer from dreaded skin diseases are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead are brought back to life, and the Good News is preached to the poor.
Luke 24:13-35 (TEV)
On that same day two of Jesus’ followers were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking to each other about all the things that had happened. As they talked and discussed, Jesus himself drew near and walked along with them; they saw him, but somehow did not recognize him.
Jesus said to them, “What are you talking about to each other, as you walk along?” They stood still, with sad faces. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only visitor in Jerusalem who doesn’t know the things that have been happening there these last few days?” “What things?” he asked.
“The things that happened to Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered. “This man was a prophet and was considered by God and by all the people to be powerful in everything he said and did. Our chief priests and rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and he was crucified. And we had hoped that he would be the one who was going to set Israel free! Besides all that, this is now the third day since it happened.
Some of the women of our group surprised us; they went at dawn to the tomb, but could not find his body. They came back saying they had seen a vision of angels who told them that he is alive. Some of our group went to the tomb and found it exactly as the women had said, but they did not see him.”
Then Jesus said to them, “How foolish you are, how slow you are to believe everything the prophets said! Was it not necessary for the Messiah to suffer these things and then to enter his glory?” And Jesus explained to them what was said about himself in all the Scriptures, beginning with the books of Moses and the writings of all the prophets.
As they came near the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther; but they held him back, saying, “Stay with us; the day is almost over and it is getting dark.” So he went in to stay with them. He sat down to eat with them, took the bread, and said the blessing; then he broke the bread and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight.
They said to each other, “Wasn’t it like a fire burning in us when he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” They got up at once and went back to Jerusalem, where they found the eleven disciples gathered together with the others and saying, “The Lord is risen indeed! He has appeared to Simon!” The two then explained to them what had happened on the road, and how they had recognized the Lord when he broke the bread.
More on Sunday…until then this what I know…
ST ANDREWS’ GOT TALENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED! Due to a lack of planned talent acts, we have postponed this event for now. Stay tuned…
YOUTH CARAVAN UPDATE: Final payment ($400 total fee) is due THIS SUNDAY—April 1st. Our youth will be traveling to Houston, Texas this summer to serve the communities in the aftermath of the floods.
TAMALE FELLOWSHIP LUNCH WITH THE GRACE OF THE CROSS SPANISH CONGREGATION! Mark your calendars to join us following the 10:30am service on Sunday, May 6th for a lunch of authentic Tamales. The Congregation that uses our facility on Sunday afternoons would like to be a blessing to us. They plan to join us in Fellowship as we dine on their home-made Tamales – You won’t want to miss this!