“He is risen!”

“He is risen!”

I wish one of Jesus’ 11 remaining disciples had gone to his tomb on that first Easter morning. Just one! Alas, it seems that all of them were hunkered down in homes, hiding from the authorities who had arrested and killed their rabbi, Jesus. The honor of discovering the empty tomb went to those faithful, brave women who returned to complete the work of preparing properly the body of their beloved Lord. But as for the male disciples? Locked in, shut down, hidden away.

Easter 2020 may be the closest we ever come to observing that holy day as did those cloistered disciples. It was our first virtual Easter. Not a person in the room. We were locked down, under quarantine because of COVID-19. It was the first Easter in my 64 years of life that I did not celebrate it in church with other people of the empty tomb. And frankly, it was the easiest Easter in my career!  We ate breakfast, watched one service…and were done! Instead of our normal Easter morning marathon of services.

What a difference a year makes! People, longing to worship with others, are already returning in increasing numbers. Those who have finally received their vaccines can’t wait to return and have greeted me with tears in their eyes at the power of the experience. And I have no doubt that this Easter Sunday will set a record for attendance in more than a year.

And I can’t wait! Can’t wait to sing the great hymns and powerful modern songs. Can’t wait to see the beautiful decorations that remind us of life. Can’t wait to shout out, “He is Risen,” and hear you reply, “Christ is risen indeed!” 

In order to manage the crowd flow, we asked you to register your attendance online…and you definitely have, because ALL THREE SERVICES IN THE SANCTUARY ARE NOW FULL. We have prepared the Gathering Place for overflow space. If you already reserved your seats and your plans for Easter Sunday have changed and you will NOT be able to attend, please go to Eventbrite and cancel your tickets. If you have already reserved your seats you will want to arrive early in order to sit in the Sanctuary; otherwise, we anticipate we will have room in the Gathering Place, and we are going to ensure it is very comfortable and enjoyable. And of course, if you haven’t had a chance to reserve your seats, you are invited to worship online with us…and please invite a friend to worship online with you!

I realize that making a reservation and having capacity restrictions is unusual and, for some perhaps, a little irksome. Please understand that we are trying to do our best to provide a safe environment for as many Easter worshipers as possible. Thanks for your understanding… and your assistance.

Easter morning…in church…with my church family shouting, “He is risen indeed!” Doesn’t get much better than that. I’ll see you then. Can’t wait!

Pastor Mark

Photo by Aaron Burdon on Unsplash