Today’s Word from Pastor Dennis…
We soon begin the season of Lent; Ash Wednesday is February 17. Lent is not the most favorite season in the church year for many people. It’s a poor weather time, and the theme is somber. Many Protestant churches ignore it all together. But Easter, to me, seems empty without walking with our Lord through all that led up to his arrest, trial, conviction, and execution. Easter, then, is the celebration of Him being raised from the dead. That word became the foundation block for Paul and the rest of the Apostles’ preaching. They headed out into the known world, away from Jerusalem, to tell the story. The crucified Jesus, raised from the dead, is the heart of our faith. It continues to be our proclamation too.
Back in my parish days in Idaho, we had a tradition for early Easter morning. We gathered at 7:00 a.m. in the local cemetery. It was usually cold and miserable weather, but people came dressed for it. I had a short liturgy prepared, and of course, a sermon and prayers. We stood among the headstones and markers, many of which were familiar to us. After the service, folks would walk around and sort of get acquainted with those who had gone before us. There was laughter, as memories were triggered, and there were tears. And then we headed back to the church for coffee and the main service in the sanctuary. From the quiet of the cemetery to the great organ peeling out the chords of “Jesus Christ is Risen Today, Alleluia.” We shared the Holy Communion hearing, “This is My Body, My Blood given and shed for you.” After the final, “Amen,” we returned to the fellowship hall, and our youth fed us breakfast.
As Christians we live and die on such a promise. We hold fast to it and it holds us fast. We hear it over and over again throughout life. And we will be buried and raised again by that promise.
God bless us all in our Lenten Journey. We may not be in our sanctuary this year, and some of you could not be there anyway. So, try this: Journey through one of the Gospels, maybe John, and space it out from Ash Wednesday (February 17) through Good Friday, and the final chapter on Easter Sunday. And then yell, “Christ Is Risen. He is Risen Indeed.” And then you can add, “And so will I!”