Looking Back on the Weekend…

 It is tough to remember the last time we went to 
an Easter service in a church not our own.
My mom was with us for the week, 
so we opted to re-visit the most ‘formal’ of those we have visited these last few months, the big Presbyterian one downtown.
And we are so glad we did.

LOVED the massive arrangement of calla 
(rather than Easter) lilies.
Loved the pipe organ (even got the Widor “Toccata” as a postlude).
Loved the choir – two anthems, including Handel’s “Hallelujah!”

Loved the stained glass all around.
Loved the sweet older couple in front of us who 
warmly greeted us the moment we walked in.
Loved that the pastor sang the psalm once again, 
as he had the last time we were there.

And we loved that sermon.

Here are some highlights – at least for this listener:
Text:  Matthew’s account of the empty tomb – 28:1-10
Title: “Fear/Joy/Galilee”
Standout thoughts:
The New Testament re-telling of the resurrection story is surprisingly low key, understated and not terribly dramatic.  
Using a charming story of a little girl eagerly raising her hand in answer to the question, 
“What was the first thing Jesus said after his resurrection?”  
she happily blurted:  “I know, I know!”  
Standing to spread her arms wide and bowing royally:  “TA DA!!!”
Yeah -that’s what WE would have done.
But not Jesus.
Yes, there was an earthquake.
Yes, the angel’s clothing was blindingly white.
Yes, the guards shook and ‘became like dead men.’
But Jesus himself?
His first words to the stunned disciples?

21st century English equivalent?
“Oh, hi.”

Oh, hi??

And then there was this – “Do not be afraid; 
go and tell my brothers (and sisters) to go to Galilee; 
there they will see me.”
Basically, he told them – “I’ll meet you at home!”

But…home…Galilee…is a place of purpose and meaning.
Our Galilee is where we meet Jesus – 
in that place that holds purpose and meaning for us.

And this simple message, these words of Jesus to those first disciples on the scene, seems to say something like this as well:
that as important as it is for us to believe in Easter, 
in resurrection –
it is equally important to realize that Resurrection Jesus 
believes in us.
Go home.  Go to the place where you know me best.  I have work for you to do – 
I believe you can do it because I’ll meet you there.”

And here’s a direct quote which I just loved:
“God lifts us from every place of pain and gives us purpose.”

And calling these men who had abandoned him his ‘brothers?’
Another example of our ‘modest, glorious Jesus.’

This pastor also noted that it’s about 100 miles from the tomb in that Jerusalem garden to Galilee – so we are called to a long journey, not a quick look-see.  And best of all,
Jesus is already in our Galilee,
wherever that may be for each of us.
We are called to a journey of commitment, honesty, hope and joy – 
because Jesus is joy.

Will we take the next step?
Oh, I hope so!
Because Jesus is waiting there.

Doing a double post with Michelle this week at “Graceful.”  This one is probably a bit more germane to the meme:

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  1. Love the beauty in the celebration…loved the little girl and her “Ta Da!”

    I love the things kiddos say (being a mom, grandma to 8, preschool teacher to hundreds over the years)

  2. Never thought about Jesus’ simple understated greeting after the miracle of his resurrection — and what a lovely juxtaposition to the little girl’s “ta da!” That one made me smile.

  3. Connie – I, too, have 8 grandkids – aren’t they the best? And GIGANTIC kudos to you for ever teaching preschool. In my book, you are among the greatest saints in life. I knew very early on that my gifts did not lie in working with very small children – loved mine, love my grandchildren, did my rotation at a coop preschool for all of my 3 – but man, either you got that gift or you don’t – and I just don’t. So…I thank you! And I bless you.

    Michelle- I always appreciate your effort to stop by and comment on all the blogs that link to your weekly meme. So…thanks for this week’s visit.

  4. I never thought that simple greeting from Jesus in that way before! And I too love the words that flow from little hearts. children teach us, don’t they?

    Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day:)


  5. I love it–‘Hi, there,’ and ‘I’ll see you at home.’ I have never thought of the Resurrection that way! And thank you for sharing the encouraging words that Jesus believes in me and has work for me.

    I must admit, while I go to a very contemporary church right now, I miss the beauty of the stained glass windows.