If you’re like me, you’re physically tired after Easter. The lenten journey can be a bit overwhelming and exhausting, but also spiritually invigorating. This has been my first year being the pastor of three wonderful churches, and so this has been the first year I’ve been personally responsible for the season of Lent and all the worship experiences that point us to Jesus Christ.
We began as many churches do with Shrove Tuesday and we enjoyed fellowship and pancakes made by the Men’s Club at Trinity in Givhans. We began with smiles, full stomachs, and a desire to be close to one another.
Next we journeyed to Ash Wednesday, and we remembered our mortality and our need for repentance. The ashes were imparted and we began to evaluate our lives and began to ask ourselves, “What acts will prepare me for this season, and how can I walk more closely in the footsteps of Jesus.” It was powerful, and we left with the heaviness of our sin but the expectation in our need for forgiveness and a new orientation.
Then our Sunday night Lenten Services began and we began to worship together ecumenically with many sister churches in our area. We joined with various cultures and learned new ways to experience the Word of God. I grew as a preacher as I sensed the Holy Spirit moving in the congregations and the ministers who presented as God lead them. The songs, especially “Are Ye Able,” are still running through my heart and mind. We experienced 6 Sunday nights on the journey together.
In the midst of the season, our charge held a “Healing and Wholeness” service, and we anointed those seeking healing for themselves and others, with oil as the scriptures call us to. We placed hands on one another’s shoulders and tears and hugs brought us together as we lifted our pain and suffering before our Lord, who also experienced great suffering for us.
The “Revival” Bible Study also met on Thursdays (and one Friday), as we examined “Faith as John Wesley lived it,” giving special attention to what can happen when hearts are “strangely warmed” and people ignite and serve God with all that they have. We learned that we don’t need to be perfect to be useful in service to Jesus Christ. We really just need to be willing to place our whole being into His hands and seek what He’s calling us to do for the Kingdom. We sang together, spent time with the three churches in community, and we felt the Lord calling us to new “Hard” things to do in His name. We began to feel the revival that Wesley ignited so long ago.
Then came Holy Week, and we celebrated the joyful moments before the storm, when Christ entered Jerusalem and the crowd cried out “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” We marched onward to Good Friday, when Christ, having had the Last Supper with his disciples, was then betrayed and placed before the Sanhedrin and Pilate – to be put before the crowd and then sentenced to death. We walked the Stations of the Cross together, and experienced a deep connection with our suffering servant, who went before the powers of our world and evil itself and did not back down. From the Garden to the Cross, we felt Jesus’ pain and suffering which was taken upon himself to show his love for all people and his dedication to our salvation.
In a small reprieve from darkness, we experienced an Easter Egg hunt for the children at the campground, and the rains stopped just long enough for us to send the children out to cover themselves in mud and to jump in puddles to receive delight and plenty of sugar filled colored eggs. Families came together, and we enjoyed some sweet fellowship huddled away from the rains that came and went.
Then, Easter morning came and we experienced a wonderful Sunrise service together. We sang, “Were You There” and began to consider what Resurrection means for our own lives. At each service, we began to realize more and more that Christ is Risen! And we cried, “He is Risen, indeed!” Families and friends came together and the rains stayed away just long enough for us to take pictures together.
The Easter Season continues this Sunday, and truly, I am personally thankful to all of our churches and our congregations who have given so much to make this season one of true discipleship and a deep walk with Jesus. This Sunday, we come back together for Communion, and we will consider Life after the Resurrection in the Spirit which Jesus promised to us for the mission that would follow. I’m personally excited about what God is about to do with us and through us, and I ask each person to search deeply within themselves, and ask the big question, “Where is God in all this?” He’s there, do not fear, and prepare yourself for big things. God is laying a foundation for some mighty and wonderful works. Let’s get ready!
“The mission of the Church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”