Easter‚Ä¶ at last!
Between the two biggest holidays of our faith, Christmas and Easter, sometimes Easter gets the short end of the stick. At least it can feel that way to me personally. I love Christmas. It’s easy to anticipate it, because everything we do at that time of year builds up to it. Lights, Christmas plays, Advent services, calendars, devotionals… when Christmas day finally comes it feels quite momentous. But there have been many years where it feels like Easter sort of sneaks up on me. Our culture doesn’t celebrate it as much (maybe because we don’t exchange gifts?) and there doesn’t seem to be quite the same build up as Christmas. That seems kind of disappointing to me, because as much as I love Christmas, Resurrection Sunday seems like it should be far more important in my faith life. The incarnation of Jesus is essential, but where would our lives be without his death and resurrection?
That’s why I was grateful for some of the Lenten practices we did this year as a church. Beginning with Ash Wednesday, I found weekly, and even daily, practices to cultivate eagerness for Easter. Praying and fasting, especially fasting, helped to build up my anticipation for Resurrection Sunday. I memorized John 6:35, and every time I felt a twinge of hunger, I could remind myself that Jesus is the bread of life. When Easter morning rolled around I was ready for it, spirit, soul, and body. At last…
We return afresh to The Story this weekend, and now that we are out of the Old Testament our focus changes a bit. For months, we’ve been following the trail of the Scarlet Thread; the stories and glimpses of foreshadowing that lead to Jesus. Sometimes that Scarlet Thread seemed dim indeed. Other times it was glowing right in front of our faces. But I hope that you saw that The Story was always leading somewhere, right from the beginning.
The kind of anticipation I was hoping to cultivate within myself about Easter morning is where The Story has been leading us. Within The Story, the people of Israel are stuck in a perpetual rut of disobedience and suffering. Their intransigence causes them much pain, and the word from God through the prophets resounds: you need a Savior! And so, the people of God wait. And wait. Until: the Scarlet Thread… at last!
As The Story reveals the life of Jesus, we see the terminal of the Scarlet Thread at last. I hope the last six months in The Story have lead you on the same spiritual journey as the people of Israel traveled so that now, with them, you can say, at last! The Messiah is come.
P.S. Though we call it First Step, for some folks our membership process can be their second or third step at Chapel Hill. You might be one of those folks—someone who’s been at Chapel Hill for a while, maybe plugged in here or there, but haven’t quite jumped in all the way. Think of the First Step process as a date—there’s no ring on the finger just for showing up, but you can say that you’re interested. Are you interested? Come to the class this Sunday at 12:30pm in the Board Room and learn more about CHPC. Details HERE.