I am thankful for each one who took time to honor Jesus by worshipping at Community Wesleyan in Kirkville this year. Attendance at Good Friday service and Easter Celebration service was up despite the fact that for nearly all of us, the pace of life accelerates on a holiday weekend. (The busy pace is one reason I’ve written less lately.) Yet somehow, if we do not take time to honor Jesus on Good Friday and Easter, when will we ever? He is supremely worthy of our praise.
This weekend held several highlights for me:
I have come to deeply appreciate the interactive passion narrative that we used again this year at the ecumenical service at St Paul’s Episcopal Church. Reading the narrative as characters in a play, helps put me more closely in touch with what really happened. In addition, sharing together in the service with other churches reminds me again that the family for whom Jesus died and who are responding to his call enfolds so many more than just my local church fellowship or even my denomination.
Easter has become a family time too in our culture and our family is no exception. It was a delight to have our daughter and son-in-law visit for a couple days and to have my brother-in-law, Joe, and father-in-law at Easter dinner.
Easter is a special time for children. Our church tries to make a home for children at God’s house. I enjoy greeting them at the Easter brunch and the Easter services. Some, especially the little girls, are all dressed up in Easter outfits and appreciate it if my wife or I notice. The boys like the food, as I think I would have as a boy.
Easter music is always a highlight. Special music adds a great deal; solos, instrumentals, handbell choir and holiday choir all help to mark the moment. I usually enjoy most the songs that the congregation seems to truly get involved in. This year was no exception. At our Good Friday service, there was a special moment when we sang the hymn, At Calvary. In Easter Celebration service, the praise team led with joy as everyone joined in on Celebrate Jesus. Then we sang the story of Jesus’ life via the new hymn, In Christ Alone; an inspiring time. One of the gifts of any worship service is when the music comes back to you and you find yourself singing it throughout the day or in the middle of the week. Then you know it was inspiring. (Singing in the choir will make that happen for sure.)
It always encourages me to see people in church at a holiday service that I or our church have reached out to in some way recently. Perhaps I stood by the side of someone in their family at a difficult time or performed a wedding or a funeral. Perhaps a child in the family attended preschool. People don’t realize how much it encourages pastors and church leaders when they attend.
On the flip side, I always wonder what people thought were their favorite moments in sermons. If they had to nominate a five minute segment from one of the three sermons I gave over this weekend to be put on U-Tube or inserted in an advertisement for our church, what five minutes would they choose? Pastors often have mixed feelings about their preaching and I guess this weekend is no exception. Some parts went better than I expected and others I would like to do over. I just trust that overall my thoughts were a blessing to many.