EASTER IS COMING
Easter: pastel dresses, and colorful ties, chocolate Easter bunnies and jellybeans. You may have more to your Easter than that, actually I hope to you do. I have to admit that when Easter comes around I look forward to it. I love the lilies at church, the spring weather, and the expectation and, I have a bit of an affinity for jellybeans. I especially like the Starburst ones, or the Jelly Bellies.
I pastored out in Oklahoma for ten years and in the course of ministry I had a day that will forever be etched in my heart. I had arrived at the church during the week just as a dear grandmother and her little grand daughter arrived from having been to the local nursing home. The little girl had a banana, and a Ziploc bag of jellybeans (20 or so), and as I stepped out of my truck to go in, I asked her if I could have one. She said, “No, but ya can buy one.” I laughed inside smiled outside and asked her how much for the whole bag. I couldn’t remember what her answer was but for some reason I remember having something in the order of a dollar in change in my pocket. I asked her if she would sell me the whole bag for all my money and she did. Every year as Easter rolls around I am reminded of that afternoon and that young lady.
I asked her about her morning during our transaction, and she was excited to tell me about all the people she got to visit at the nursing home. She told me of the games they played, and the conversations. Her grandmother was a saint. Her grandmother had a real heart for visiting friends and family in the nursing home and spreading Christ’s love. She just wanted to love on these folks and let them know they were important. She needed to visit these friends and family members; she had to. There was something inside this woman that drew her close and compelled her to share and minister to others.
John 20:1-3 (NIV)
1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.
The least likely to do the most important.
I love that Christ first revealed himself to Mary and some of the other women. God has a way, in the whole redemption story, of using the least likely to do the most important. While we know the names of some of the women that traveled with and supported Jesus, we do not hear much about them. We hear about Peter walking on the water, John leaning back on Jesus at the last supper, Peter, James and John going up the mountain with Jesus, but we do not hear much about the women traveling with Jesus. Those positions aren’t real flamboyant or showy. Those ladies aren’t super Apostles, but you do have to wonder what all they were privy to. The conversations, the miracles, the people, and the crowds: they were there.
It was Mary that got to run back to the disciples and tell them Jesus had risen from the dead. She was the one that brought them running. A woman. The Easter sermon that is preached every spring around the world was first delivered in the heart and on the lips of a woman.
What about you?
Who are you going to invite to church this Easter? Do you have a need to tell people that he is risen and they need to come and see? Is your relationship a relationship of consumerism or is it a mission that you need to be a part of?
Those days between when Jesus was crucified and Easter Sunday morning were dark days. There was a palpable hopelessness in the air. The kingdom that these disciples and followers thought was coming to pass didn’t happen. Jesus was crucified, the Romans were still in power, Herod and Caiaphas were not real happy with the “followers of the Way.” And now these followers, numbering about 120, (Acts 1) were locked away, hiding from anything and everyone. And then. And then. And then Mary broke into the room and needed to tell everyone that she had seen Jesus.
Up from the grave he arose!
There is something about dark days that opens our hearts and gets us ready for God. There is something about Friday afternoon at that cross that got people ready for Sunday morning at the empty tomb. I’m talking about there is something about dying that gets us ready for living.
Where will you be Easter Sunday morning?
Easter is just a couple weeks away; are you far from God? Do you feel like he left you and now you are hiding in your life, scared of your future, alone and without purpose? Come back to Jesus, he is not dead, He is alive, he is here and we want to invite you to join us.
Vineyard Community Church Richmond
830 Eastern Bypass,
Old Richmond Mall, main entrance
Saturday 5:30 pm
Sunday morning 9:30, and 11:15
Join us, come as you are,
God wants you,
he sees you,
and he knows what’s been going on
and he still loves you very much.