And let me start of this week by making sure that I wish everyone a very Happy Resurrection Sunday!
Man, what a busy week! (Note: I mean that in the very best of ways). In-between all sorts of family engagements in our own family, our church family was able to spend quality time together in lots of different venues.
Obviously, we observed Palm Sunday last weekend, and reminded ourselves that following God is an “all-in” proposition -- that we need to love God and love one another completely, without qualifications and “yeah, but” moments that would keep us from living our proper worship out on a daily basis, as God commanded us.
On Wednesday, we had our weekly Prayer Group and Youth Group times, spending quality time together as we interacted with one another about the everyday God moments in life.
On Friday, we had a powerful Good Friday service, with Gweneth Schwab sharing a poignant reading and Paul Larson sharing a dramatic presentation of the last 24 hours of Christ’s life from the Gospel of Mark. Several people mentioned how this service is regularly the most meaningful one that we have on an annual basis.
On Saturday, we had our final collection of good for the Neighborhood Rummage Sale, going on this Saturday, April 22, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Please come rummage through not only our stuff, but also the sales going on throughout our neighborhood. Let’s work on actively being good neighbors to our neighbors. :)
And then on Sunday, we celebrated Resurrection Sunday with our annual church family breakfast (and a special thank you goes out to everyone who brought so much wonderful food -- I loves me my pancakes...!). In the service, Dawna Warren presented a dramatic vignette about the Resurrection from the perspective of the Samaritan woman at the well, Vivek Murthy publicly announced that he was getting married in May, and we all recited the Apostles’ Creed together. Fun morning!
In the message, we finished up our sermon series walking through the Gospel of Mark by looking at chapter 16, and an amazing number of things in that brief account just aren’t normal.
Christ’s legal battles weren’t normal for the day, His sentencing wasn’t the normal practice, and He didn’t die the way that people normally did on a cross. For that matter, the day itself wasn’t normal -- an eclipse blotted out the sun for hours, and the moment He died, an earthquake rocked Jerusalem and cracked open the tombs... and multiple dead people were raised to life!
It wasn’t normal for an angel to appear at a tomb, and it wasn’t normal for a tomb to suddenly be empty (especially when the Roman governor had taken the not-normal step of posting a guard and sealing the tomb). And then even when the angel spoke, what he said wasn’t normal. Even the second half of the chapter isn’t normal, ’cuz some scholars say that we should end the chapter at verse 8 (but 99% of the Greek manuscripts include verses 9-20, so I’m all for including them).
All that is to say how odd it is that the disciples struggled to believe in the Resurrection because it seemed so bizarre to them. They didn’t believe the women who saw Jesus, they didn’t believe the two men who met Him on the road to Emmaus, and they didn’t even believe one another. They were expecting normalcy -- even in the midst of so much abnormalcy -- and weren’t prepared for anything else.
Help me out here -- how prepared are you and I for God to work in abnormal ways in our own lives? I mean, do we ever stutter-step in our ministry to others because we are so used to “normal” in our world that we don’t accept and anticipate the miraculous?
Stop and think about that today, and let’s live out the decidedly not normal resurrection every day...