It has been a week since Easter morning, but I’m sitting at my desk still basking in a glow fueled by all kinds of resurrection experiences. For the engineers among us, allow me to say that the numbers of people in worship hovered around the 800 mark, more than 100 over last year. The generosity of people spilled out everywhere. While people bought lilies to decorate the sanctuary, even more people donated toward food for the hungry. Our Easter offering was excellent and from the first of January through the end of April we have collected more money then we have spent.
At the 11 am service we baptized John and Jacob Bolthouse, five week old twins of Darin and Sarah Bolthouse. It was such a joy to baptize them, but it was mixed with a sense of melancholy as it was the last Sunday for the Bolthouse family to be at Nardin Park. They moved to Colorado the following week. The good news is that I could recommend them to the St. Andrews UMC in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, where my friend, Harvey Martz, is senior pastor. I’ve already notified Harvey they are are on their way. How wonderful it is to be a part of such a connectional church. That’s Easter, too.
The worship experiences were simply amazing. Everything went so well. After the 9:30 service a young lady approached me and handed me one of our “Invitation Sunday Response Cards.” She is already a member of the church, but she hadn’t been around for quite a while. As she handed me the card, she quietly said, “I feel like I need to re-commit myself to Jesus.” That’s Easter, my friends. I put my arm around her and told her that we had missed her but that we had never stopped loving her. She didn’t need to rejoin the church because the church family had never given up on her. That’s Easter, too.
A week after Easter I receive a letter in the mail. It came from one of our repeat guests. It read: “Your Sunday messages and the outstanding music included in Sunday worship have been an inspiration to me whenever I am able to be in the Nardin Park Sanctuary. I am a frequent visitor there because your sermons and the music seem to “lead” me back. The Easter morning service was beautiful – the Voluntary, ‘Because He Lives,’ brought tears to my eyes – what dedication and talent bless your congregation. In appreciation the enclosed is my gift to the Music Department.” Enclosed was a check for $1,000. That’s Easter, too.
So I’m basking in the glow of Easter. That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of more tombs that need to be opened. For some reason, people love to roll big stones around, sealing off the goodness and grace of life for themselves and for others. Fortunately, there is always enough glow from the Resurrection morn to cast the shadows away. Oh, it may take some doing, but it is possible. We simply need to be Easter People!