Monday, March 30, 2015
Letters from the Soul: This Month's Newsletter Column + New Sermon Series
I didn't always like Easter as a little kid.
No, not the candy-from-the-Easter-Bunny part; I LOVED that bit. It was like Halloween, only six months later and with a side of Jesus. And no, not the hunting-for-eggs part; while I detested getting myself dirty, I always made an exception for chocolates in bright, plastic eggs.
No, I disliked what came after all of those festivities: the foisting of myself into really nice Easter clothes before being taken off to church and various Easter brunches. Okay, it was mostly the having-to-wear-really-nice-clothes part. I may have been born and raised in Kansas, but I was a West Coaster at heart even as a whippersnapper. Give me a reason to celebrate Jesus's resurrection in pajamas and sandals, and I was on board like Noah and his menagerie.
I tell myself now that this was in fact really quite holy of me as a kid, because considering the disciples are summoned to the empty tomb at sunrise after the Sabbath, they may well have been wearing their pajamas and sandals too! (Like I know what ancient Israelites slept in...)
I think we want to look our best on Easter because it is so important a day for us, but also because in our minds, the resurrection was instantaneous; things were at their best now that Christ has risen, and so too, then, must we be and look at our best.
Except the resurrection took time--not the resurrection of Christ, maybe, but the resurrection of His disciples' faith, especially that of Thomas. The resurrection of their courage, and their willingness to speak out publicly again on behalf of their Lord, all of that took time.
Which means that is okay for our own resurrections to take time as well, for them to not always happen overnight. Sometimes we are born again in an instant, but sometimes, we are born again over a span of weeks, months, even years.
Think about that. We may still be--and really likely are--years away from looking our best as Christians. But if the post-Easter stories about the faith and redemption of Jesus's disciples are any indication to us, that's okay. No matter what it is we are wearing!
He is Risen,
New Easter Sermon Series!
Easter is technically not just a single day--it is in fact fifty days, lasting from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday, which commemorates the coming of the Holy Spirit as documented in Acts 2), we will begin a new five-week sermon series for the season. Khalil Gibran was an early 20th century Lebanese poet and writer, and one of his works, "Jesus: Son of Man," consists of a series of vignettes and poems told from the perspectives of all manner of people Jesus came into contact with, friend and foe alike--although he reserves his best poetry for Christ's followers. Each Sunday, we'll be taking an excerpt from one of Gibran's poems, reading its parallel in the Gospels, and seeing how the spirit of Christ can inspire such amazing and profound words of wisdom and love from each of us, not just the poets!
Easter 2015: “The Son of Man: When Poetry Testifies to Christ”
April 12: “Words Wrought as Iron,” Matthew 6:5-15
April 19: Off
April 26: “To Forgive the Thirst,” John 8:1-11
May 3: “A Tempest in Their Sky,” Matthew 23:29-39
May 10: "But I Shall Be Crucified," Matthew 27:15-23
May 17: "The Wings Wherewith to Fly High," Luke 24:28-35
May 24 (Pentecost Sunday): "Nine-In-The-Morning Holiness," Acts 2:1-13