I was in the middle of writing my first draft of my post-Easter Reflections, when I stopped to read Rachel Held Evans‘ post So how was your Easter…really?. It really got me to thinking differently about my Easter weekend. Every Sunday for my 48 (soon to be 49) years of life, I have been in the church on Easter morning. Louis, as a Pastor, is usually behind the pulpit on Easter morning. Now that I think about it, the first time I heard Louis preach was Easter 2008, and I married him December of the same year!
Since Louis and I were both free (in more ways than one!) on Easter morning, we decided to take a different approach to the Easter Weekend. We found ourselves forgoing all the normal Easter Christian traditions. We opted for BEING the church instead of GOING to a church. We decided to ‘do’ the Bible.
We opted for an Act 2 style of worship this weekend…
The Fellowship of the Believers
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Thursday night is our usual Missional Community, where we eat together, study the Word of God together, and pray together. We did something radically different for our group. We had an old-fashioned foot washing and communion together. Where we commune and fellowship over a meal every week, this was different. Where we serve our community and each other every chance we can get, here…we washed one another’s feet…literally…while praying and thanking God for one another. The Spirit’s presence was thick and beautiful.
On Friday afternoon, I got a prayer request email from a friend and a regular at our Thursday night Missional Community – who usually doesn’t usually request prayer for a number of reasons…lack of faith being one of them. But, I am thankful that she reached out this time on behalf of a friend. It was literally a matter of Life or death. I was weeping as I read the email and cried out to God. I am grateful that when I called on another friend to help with this prayer request…she answered her phone! 🙂 She gave me great advice to pass along, and she prayed with me right away.
Friday night, still somewhat grieving for the possible loss of Life, our normal Good Friday night service was replaced with dinner with a group of guys from Richmond Christian Leadership Institute (RCLI), where Louis and I are shepherds. We gladly broke bread together in the form of grilled cheeseburgers, grilled onions, roasted potatoes and cole slaw. The guys continued their fellowship surrounding the fire pit, as they talked about challenges of health care, education, etc. I hear they put our friend and visitor, Bill, through the ringer – as a pediatrician in one of state’s poorest counties. God’s presence was apparent as all the believers were together. I don’t think we share everything in common, but we did share the love of Jesus as an important commonality. (I regret….no pictures were taken. What WAS I thinking?!?!?)
Early Saturday morning, I received a text message. It was now a matter of LIFE! The friend of my friend now chooses LIFE! Death was scheduled for next Friday, but the appointment at the clinic will been cancelled. Where Life’s heart currently beats in her womb, Life’s first breath will come in 8-9 months. We are filled with awe as wonder and signs performed by God’s answer to our prayers. Praise God…and thanks to all involved!
This year, Easter didn’t consist of a Sunrise Service or a Sunday morning church service. We had no new springy clothes or accessories. We did, however, open our home to our community – Southern Barton Heights – and our community of friends to an Easter Brunch. Louis, once again, served up his famous pancakes by the order as our friends (old and new alike) came and went. In addition, we had plenty of fruit, egg/turkey sausage/cheese casserole, country ham and juice/coffee. After hiding over 400 eggs, we cut the older kids loose in the back yard, while the younger smaller ones were in the front yard.
We didn’t ‘preach a sermon’, but we devoted our time and our home to share the love of our Risen Savior in word and deed as we spent time in fellowship, sharing and praying with one another. We created deeper relationships with existing friends and developed new friendships with first time visitors to our home.
We ended the day with dinner with my family. This is the only tradition that carried over from past years. I can’t imagine Easter without Mom’s lamb and full dinner table. Mom – Thanks for modeling hospitality for me!
I look forward to what God is going to do among all of us in the future…and I look forward to those who will be added to the number of those who believe.
I am blessed in so many ways! Not to mention…a true blessing in the midst…
A little grief-stricken, I went to bed Friday night believing that Life could be put to death in a week. It reminded me of how the disciples went to bed…laying there awake…after Jesus died on the cross…believing that He was dead. Or maybe they were pacing the floor….talking to one another…trying to figure it all out. Not understanding. Some had even dispersed…went into hiding…facing it alone. Having to wait 3 days to hear that Jesus is Risen. I can’t imagine what that must have been like. The wait must have been horrific. I am thankful that Life’s heart will continue to beat, Life’s lungs will continue to develop, Life’s cells will reproduce, and what a story…a testimony that Life will hear one day. Faith is restored. Life will continue to live. God has a plan for Life’s life. I can’t wait for Life to grow up in the ways of the Lord. I believe. Praise God!
Now…enjoy a few pictures of our Easter Day… Peace.