From the Pastor
I called a few of you out by name on Easter morning. I asked if you have seen the Lord.
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
“I have the seen the Lord,” and she told them that he had said these things to her. John 20:18
At the April 27 Regional Assembly I saw the Lord. I heard the Lord, too. A gospel medley from New Generation Christian Church led us in praise and worship. Our Regional Minister Bishop Valerie Melvin offered pastoral reflections that named our strengths and needs as a region. In both, I see how God is at work through the people and churches across the state. (Pictured from left to right at the Regional Assembly: Darilyn Knibb, Baylee Smith, Helena Epstein, Melissa Guthrie Loy, John Flynt)
I imagine you have seen and heard the Lord. On Easter morning in the colored streamers. In the beautiful sound of the brass quintet. In the smiles and joy of our children scurrying outside to collect Easter eggs. Have you seen the Lord in your home? At work? At school?
If an encounter doesn’t come to mind, keep in mind the risen Lord may not match your expectations. Where are you looking? Come back here and continue exploring the scriptures with us. Or join us in our conversations and efforts beyond the sanctuary. I’ve seen the Lord at the shelter when we serve meals. I’ve seen the Lord at Sunday night meals with children and families. I’ve seen the Lord in our questions about the opioid crisis. I’ve seen the Lord at interfaith gatherings. I’ve seen the Lord in the hospital and the elementary school.
Where love lives, there is the risen, living Lord. This may not be what you expect. And it’s certainly stripped of the spiffiness we expect. Remember that the gospel story is not fancy; it’s downright messy.
“‘…Easter in the Bible may be the greatest story ever told. It’s just not the story we usually choose to tell, because it’s not a story about new dresses and baskets and flowers and candy and spiffiness. Really, it’s a story about flesh and dirt and bodies and confusion, and it’s about the way God never seems to adhere to our expectations… I like to think that Mary mistook the resurrected Christ for a gardener because Jesus still had the dirt from his own tomb under his nails.’”
I’m revisiting some of my Easter sermon because Easter is a season. Hear this prayer from Easter morning, a prayer that invites us to be Easter people all year long:
May we get our hands dirty sharing God’s love, a love that overcomes even death.
May we trust in the Rock of Ages, paying attention to the ways God’s love is resurrected all around us. Perhaps where we least expect, we will see the Lord.
I ask each of you, “Have you seen the Lord?”