Thanks All-Around

Brothers and sisters,

I want to do three things: thank everyone for helping with our events this month, remind folks of another chance to help out, and share an Easter poem that I appreciate.

First, thank you to everyone who came out to participate in the special Holy Week services we had at the beginning of the month! Between the Hand-Washing service, our Good Friday service, and the East-er Sunday Baptism service it was a wonderful week of worship and community with each other. Thank you to all the volunteers, musicians, and committees that came together to make those services what they were, in particular, the handbells, the Deacons, and the baptism committee. Again, these services were wonderful and they could not have been as meaningful as they were without the participation of so many people.

Another group I want to be sure and thank are the family ministry team and the missions team. They were the two groups that coordinated and led the church’s Easter Egg Hunt this year which was a success! We had twelve kids come out, make crafts, eat snacks, hear the Easter story, and hunt eggs. Thank you to everyone who helped plan that event out, prepare all the crafts, and then help the kids collect eggs. Also, thank you to everyone who filled Easter eggs this year or who donated money to help with this ministry. We were able to share abundantly with the kids because of you. Thank you!

With that in mind, I wanted to remind everyone again that we will be having our Church Yard Sale next Saturday, April 29 from 9 a.m. through 2 p.m. We still need plenty of volunteers to help out that day. You can come and help at different stations within the sale (housewares, books/DVDs, etc.), help with refreshments, or, if you’ve got a truck, you can come help carry anything leftover to Goodwill at the end of the day. You can also come and help out in the days leading up to the sale — setting up the gym, moving items into their stations, pricing, etc. But I’m looking forward to this because it gives us a chance to meet a wide array of people in our community. It allows us to see them and them see us.

In fact, all of the things I’ve mentioned in this article are instances where we, as a church, came together to tell people that they were seen. We came together to embody our faith, to live it out, because we understand that Christianity is not just an intellectual position to be held — it is a life that we live. And that is all based on the fact that we worship a risen Savior. That takes me to the poem I wanted to share with you all entitled, “Seven Stanzas at Easter,” and written by John Updike:

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the
molecules reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the eleven apostles;
It was as His flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that—pierced—died, withered, paused, and then regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair, opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Ben