Having journeyed with you from the excitement of the Palm Sunday parade through the violent and sacrificial and loving events of Holy Week, Easter Sunday worship was an incredibly uplifting experience for me. I hope it was for you as well. The sanctuary was full (almost 700 worshipers in attendance!), which is a testament to the warmth of your invitation and welcome.
We tried something different this Easter Sunday and that was that I asked Sarah Pruden to interpret Mary Magdalene approaching the empty tomb. I wasn’t quite sure what I was expecting, but I knew Sarah, an actress in New York City, would take my meager instructions and run with it (and run she did!). Thank you, Sarah.
The music, as always, was glorious. Our choir at River Road is second to none, and I’m so grateful for all the time and energy they put in to offer beautiful music to God.
This coming Sunday may be a bit different. I’m guessing the sanctuary will not be quite as full, the brass quintet and timpani won’t be here, and I’m pretty sure you won’t have as hard a time finding a parking spot.
But make no mistake. It will still be Easter.
Of course, we know that Easter is a season, but that’s not what I mean. In John 20:19-29, the gospel reading for Sunday, the disciples are again gathered in the upper room one week after the resurrection. After appearing to them the week before, suddenly, mysteriously, Jesus appears to them again. “Shalom Aliechem. Peace be with you,” he says and then breathes on them. Then Jesus says, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
I think John is trying to tell us that Easter continues beyond one Sunday. In fact, every Sunday is Easter, because this is what happens every time we gather for worship: Jesus is with us, Jesus gives us his peace, Jesus breathes his Spirit upon us, and Jesus commissions to go back out into the world to do his work.
I invite you back to worship Sunday. After a full Holy Week and Easter, the temptation is to sleep in and have an extra cup of coffee and finish the crossword puzzle. But if you would join us as together we worship the risen Christ, it will feel like Easter again. Because it is.
Written by Daniel Glaze