I wonder what really did transpire in Jerusalem and surrounding areas after the Resurrection. We know the news traveled very quickly, beginning with Jesus speaking to Mary Magdalene in the garden, where she mistakenly took him to be the gardener. From there Mary Magdalene went directly to the disciples to spread the good news.
Jesus then appears to the disciples in the Upper Room (the “Doubting Thomas” gospel reading for this Sunday, April 23), to two followers walking in the countryside, to Cleopas on the Road to Emmaus, to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberius, and numerous other appearances documented in the gospels.
After another significant Holy Week, and more than 1,000 people worshipping in our Easter liturgies at Church of the Holy Communion, we the staff do a bit of necessary “Monday morning quarterbacking” here in the parish house. Ever wanting to move “from strength to strength,” such is the nature of our professions as parish ministry leaders.
At Easter Tuesday parish staff meeting, we all noticed that this year's list of things to watch next year was relatively brief, a testament to our clergy and lay staff team.
One stack of printed service leaflets was not in its usual place. Typos were noticed in several leaflets. These things are miniscule when compared to the Resurrection joy felt here this past weekend.
The central focus at the staff meeting was the “good news,” particularly naming how we saw God at work here in the past week.
Some of the “Easter for me” moments:
- The baby in his mother’s arms who simultaneously conducted every note of “Jesus Christ is risen today” with my colleague Dr. Jane Gamble conducting our brass and timpani
- The little girl dancing in the aisle during the Richard Proulx Sanctus, again with brass and timpani accompaniment
- Visiting high school youth so captivated with the liturgy that they wanted more a specific understanding about the high altar, pulpit, and other chancel appointments
- A visitor who grew up Episcopalian but has been away from the Church, also enthralled by the Easter music. She is returning to CHC for Bible study this week.
- Another visitor who specifically commented about how welcomed he felt here by our hospitality/greeters ministry
While we may not have yet seen Jesus walking down Walnut Grove Road, as he did on the Road to Emmaus, I maintain that Jesus is seen and felt in this place frequently and no more so than in our Easter celebrations this past weekend.
And we must remember that Easter was not just this past Sunday. In the Christian tradition, Easter last for 50 days. Indeed, the Easter season is often called “The Great Fifty Days of Easter.” After the 40 days of Lent, the Alleluias have returned.
Alleluia. Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.