April 2, 2015

Dear Lakeshore,

Most of you will receive this edition of the Transmitter in advance of Easter so let me share with you some of my scattered thoughts as I prepare for Easter Sunday.

  • The power of Easter is in the Resurrection itself. Our celebrations of Easter, though beautiful, change. Our interpretations of the gospel accounts, though requiring much thought, evolve. The sermons we preach, though reflecting our best efforts, have a limited shelf life. Yet, the Resurrection remains the most significant event in human history. The art of ministry is to get out of the way and let the story speak for itself.
  • This year I am going to preach from Mark 16:1-8. As I read the text four things jump out at me: 1. Three women go to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body for burial. Their main concern is access to the tomb for it has been covered with a large stone. Who will roll it away for them? The women represent us. 2. They arrive at the tomb to find the stone rolled away. Things do get better. 3. The messenger tells them that Jesus has gone ahead and will meet them in Galilee. Jesus continues to lead. 4. Mark’s gospel ends strangely. It tells us that the women fled from the tomb “for terror and amazement seized them: and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” Like them, we are still processing the meaning of the Resurrection.
  • Some folks come to church only on Christmas and Easter. I wish we saw them more regularly but I do not begrudge their attendance. In some ways I get it. On Christmas and Easter the celebration is pronounced and the joy is palpable. The feeling in the air is little different than it is on the second Sunday of March, the day daylight savings time begins and everyone has lost an hour of sleep.
  • I like the time between the end of the Good Friday service, usually about 3:00 p.m. and Sunday morning. It is often a busy time with the Easter parade and preparations for Easter dinner at home but I try to find a few moments to be quiet and remember that on that Friday night and Saturday long ago, God was at work to raise Jesus from the dead in silent, hidden unexpected ways, ways that were beyond our notice and out of our sight. I try to find a few moments to get in touch with my belief that God still works in small, quiet, hidden ways – ways that produce amazing results.

I look forward to sharing Easter Sunday and the Season of Easter with you,

Jim H.