Holy Week and Easter are such a special time that I am still glowing with an emotional high nearly a week later.  It is partially the nearly 400 people who worshiped with us on Easter (when you add together Sunrise, Festival, and 144 online views) – the most we have had in a single day since before the pandemic.  It is partially the drama and music of Good Friday’s Tenebrae.  But it’s mostly just the wonderful message of the Gospel that permeates every service and gathering of the week.

I generally consider myself more of a “meat and potatoes” preacher than a “holiday festival” one, but I felt very good about the Gospel proclamation last week.  On Palm Sunday we compared the legacy of Adam #1 into which we are born – a destroyed and dying creation, with the legacy of Adam #2 (Jesus) which is ours as we are born again in baptism – restored relationships, transformed attitudes and the gift of eternal life.  Maundy Thursday’s Journey to the Cross is always very personal and emotional – but this year comes with a funny story (more about that later).

Good Friday’s services included two different homilies (the term I use for short sermons) suggesting that a great way to learn about the ministry of Jesus and the Kingdom of God is simply to listen to Jesus speak from the cross.  There we hear of his undeserved and unrequested forgiveness, the fulness of his peace, and that our Father is 100% trustworthy.  There we also learn of our Lord’s focus upon restoring human relationships and supplying all our physical needs – and that, in fact, when he said, “It is finished,” he was telling us that our sins are paid for, our eternity is secured, and he has prepared for us all that we need to get us there.

And then came Easter – the bestest day of all!  The open tomb assures us that no matter what we do not understand in the scriptures, no matter what our current level of confusion may be, and no matter how shallow our faith may become, the truth is that Jesus is risen, and we shall arise.  He is here to bring comfort to us no matter what our current level of discomfort.  He is always trying to pull us forward so that we are not frozen in fear or stuck in the past, pulling us into the joyous future in which we can have a positive impact upon our world.  In fact because he is risen, we are now people of eternal hope.  This is what makes the bestest day sooo special.

Now, if you would like to join me in an exciting informal, open, yet directed conversation on all of this and more, please join me for our “Faith Connection Live Experience” on Saturday, April 30.  We will gather at STL from 8:45 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. in our Fireside Lounge.  Since we will be serving breakfast, lunch, and snacks, reservations are required at this adult only experience (I’m sorry, but we are not able to provide childcare).  To make a reservation, please text me at 586-854-5634 by next Wednesday.

Afterglow times are generated from the desire of a special time not to end.  I anticipate April 30th to be such an afterglow experience that will “fan into flame the gift of God that is in you” and remind you that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment” (2 Timothy 1.6-7)  If you have either the desire to keep the blessings of Holy Week growing within you or are interested in our risen Lord Jesus increasing in you his power, love, and sound judgment, please make your reservation today.

Seldom do I use this epistle as such a hard and clear advertisement (I’m even somewhat hesitant to do it today).  But I expect April 30 to be special.  Six hours may sound like a long time, but the breaks and informality intertwined with stimulating conversation will make the day fly by.  And it has tremendous potential to impact the rest of one’s life.

It’s all about Jesus – which gets me back to Maundy Thursday’s Journey to the Cross.  For the fourth stop on the journey people meet me at the communion rail for a private sitting at our Lord’s Table.  Usually one or two adults, with or without children, are present.  But then there came this group of about 12 individuals, most of them in their teens and twenties, with a couple closer to my age.  I only knew a few of them.  We interacted at the rail.  I spoke the words of institution and welcomed them to the Lord’s Table.  After serving them we shared multiple hugs on their way to stop number five, the Garden of Gethsemane.  I noticed many had somewhat whimsical smiles as they walked away, but just thought that they were as much caught up in the moment as was I.  Little did I know until someone told me the next day that when serving them communion, I got so caught up in the moment that I skipped serving the host and only brought them the cup of the Lord!

Good thing it’s all about Jesus.  If it was about me, we would all be in trouble!  Now that I think about it, that experience wonderfully set the stage for all of this enjoyable afterglow.