An Unexpected Easter!

We do not always get what we want!  I think we have all been there before:  You are looking forward to something for a long time, maybe weeks or months, or even years, and right before it is supposed to finally take place, it gets cancelled or for some reason it just does not work out.  This was my feeling the Monday of Holy Week.  When I took that first Covid rapid antigen test, I did not have any symptoms, and I was so sure that the result would be negative.  It came back a lot quicker than I expected, and definitely not the answer I hoped for.  There it was, very clearly, on the Sameday Health app that they forced me to download to get the outcome of the test:  positive.  I thought there must be a mistake, but there it was, completely straightforward. 

Then we started to hear throughout the week of more and more members of St. Paul testing positive for Covid (and many of them our volunteers for worship services!).  We made it so long without a big spreader case happening in our congregation, all for it to come about in the biggest week of the year for our church!  Chris and I both hoped that we would somehow test negative on Saturday and be able to make it for Sunrise and our Festival Easter worship, but that did not go according to plan either! 

This was supposed to be the first year since I was called as pastor to SPLC where we would be together in-person for Holy Week/ Easter.  I was excited, I was ready to preach, ready to sing, even ready with a new song by Nick Preston and me to perform.  It was going to be a glorious day!  In reality, it still was a glorious day.  Thanks to the internet, we got to watch all of the worship services online, and still got to be a part of things in that way.  Thanks to Pastor Tom Goellrich and Pastor Terry Tuvey Allen and many other members of the church, the services still managed to happen!  Pearl Mann arrived to assist in each worship, Tom Pankow learned to do the livestream the night of Maundy Thursday, and performed brilliantly.  The Easter egg hunt turned out to be a success from what I have heard thanks to Monica Farias, Damaris Allen, and many more.  So many members stepped up to make this special week of the church year come to fruition! 

We relearned this Holy Week, what we already know, that the church is the whole body of Christ.  It is not just one or two, or maybe half a dozen people, but the whole church is important and necessary to the functioning of Christ’s body.  When one leader cannot be there, another will step up, and that is truly a beautiful thing to witness. 

We also relearned the truths of God:  Jesus is risen!  The first Easter was an unexpected one by everyone (even though Jesus told them about it!), and this Easter turned out quite unexpectedly as well.  Resurrection whether we expect it or now, it will arrive whether we can make it to the empty tomb or not.  God’s love and power will come into our lives wherever we are, and we are always united by God’s Spirit in every time and place 

Thank goodness also that Easter is not just one day in the church year, but a whole season!  We (including everyone but especially those who have been out with Covid) have a whole seven weeks to celebrate Easter before we get to the Season of Pentecost.  Really every Sunday we are celebrating Easter; every Sunday of the year we remember Jesus’ victorious rise from the grave.  Every Sunday is Resurrection Sunday!  Actually it should go even further than that.  Every day of our lives can be a reminder of the resurrection power of God.  Every day Christ is present in our hearts and minds.  Every day the Holy Spirit is present in our souls.  Every single day we can remember how we are claimed in Baptism and called children of God, how we are forgiven, and made new by God the Father. 

No, we do not always get what we want.  But God always gives us what we need! 

May God continue to give us what we need this season of Easter and beyond, may God give us peace and contentment, forgiveness and reconciliation, healing and salvation, may God give us the love and grace that we so desperately need, and that this world needs.  Amen!  Christ is risen!  Christ is risen indeed!  Alleluia! 

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. 6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

-Philippians 4:4-7

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