Photo by Li Yang on Unsplash
I have survived the dreaded Easter. Am I surviving recovery?
Mostly. I am so, so thankful I serve a smaller congregation where I can rearrange things and take a week mostly off. I canceled nearly all my meetings for this week, and had worked ahead so that there was very little office work. That doesn’t mean the week has been easy, though.
Sunday night was bad. My brain would not shut off. I kept on going over Easter worship that morning. “I should have spent more time with him. She’s going to think I’m a jerk, because I was. They left pretty quick – what did I mess up?” There was this paranoia setting in that everything was going to fall apart because I messed up again and –
I ended up taking out a book and reading most of it to try and shut my brain up. (Thankfully Dragon’s Blood by Jane Yolen held my attention pretty well!) And even after finishing that book… my brain wouldn’t stop. I eventually passed out, but it was a struggle to get there. (more…)
Photo by Jordan Whitfield on Unsplash
Twenty-four hours ago, I dreaded Easter morning worship. It was coming. It was well-planned. I had practiced it several times.
I wanted nothing to do with the upcoming worship service.
The people. Oh, the people. I had been without rest for so long, it seems, and now nearly any interaction I had with a person for longer than a few minutes would bring me down. It wore at me so much that depression was able to gnaw at my soul.
And Easter morning? Do you have any idea how many people I’d have to interact with?
I braced myself. (more…)
Easter begins with a trumpet fanfare.
That’s the way it is every year here. A family here has three generations of trumpet players, and they join together in a beautiful prelude to our worship. It is loud and boisterous and wonderful.
Thinking about it makes me nauseous.
Not because the family is unfaithful; they are faithful in worship and growing in Christ. Not because they’re not talented; all three are different kinds of professional musicians. Not because I don’t like the arrangement they’re playing; I mean it when I say it’s beautiful.
I’m nauseous because I’ve OD’ed on people in the last month, and this last week and a half before Easter, it’s only going to get worse. See, when I spend too much time with people, I deplete my energy. And the lower my energy, the easier it is for my depression to attack. And for the last month, I’ve not had time to recharge.
As I think ahead to Easter morning, to the big smiles and the trumpets and the singing and the people and the crowds and everything – it’s too much. It’s too loud. (more…)
“He is risen!” I greeted the congregation.
They blinked at each other. They glanced nervously at the Christmas tree. They observed the chairs nicely lined up for the kids to sit in for the Christmas program. The Advent candles were lit. “…He is risen indeed?” they asked back. There was a nervous chuckle.
“Some of you are a little confused!” I smile.
“Cause you’re not supposed to say that now!” one of the members in the front row answers. More laughter now. (more…)
He is risen.
How can I? How can I stand in front of anyone and preach on a day like this? How can I explain what the big deal is? How can I possibly take glory and put it into words? How can I shape awe into syllables or craft wonder into sentences?
This day is too big. I can’t wrap my arms around it for myself. His heart beats. His pulse races. He smiles. The God that I was not good enough to bow to, who came and died for me, he looks at me and reaches out with a scarred hand. He grins. “Jon, come on. Come walk with me. Tell others.”
And I can’t. (more…)
Yeah. It’s past time that I got my head out of my ass.
Yeah. A pastor just said that. Sometimes it’s gotta be said, though.
Easter! Easter, right? Jesus, alive again! Hope restored! Because he lives, I also will live! His life is the death of death! What could be better than that?
When I was little, I loved this day. Waking up, getting to dawn service – OK, I didn’t like the waking up bit, I admit, but to hear the pastor announce, “He is risen!” And I shouted back, “He is risen indeed!” I got to be a part of the service and announce my joy! Growing up Lutheran, there weren’t many times you were “allowed” to get excited in a service… but this was one time you could let that joy show, shout it to the world, announce it to everyone!
And every Easter since donning the stole, I’ve relished being the one to initiate that for the congregation. Every year, the first response is a little shy, of course. “Are we allowed to be excited?” By the end of the service, though, you’ve got half the congregation reveling in the complete joy that yes, HE IS RISEN!
…but not today. (more…)
Mark 16:1-8 16 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ”
8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
The shock of resurrection
- Our human minds can’t comprehend it.
- God promises and acts anyway!