So goes the first stanza of one of the most beloved hymns Natalie Sleeth ever imagined! (#707 UM Hymnbook). And at some point in the singing, every fiber in me reverberates with gratitude for the mystery of God’s resurrecting…
“In our end is our beginning, in our time, infinity;
in our doubt there is believing, in our life, eternity.
In our death a resurrection, at the last a victory,
unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.”
Last fall, as we gathered to dedicate the Memorial/Prayer Garden, it wasn’t more than a few minutes before several people were thinking the same thought:
“We should have our Easter Morning Resurrection fire right here!”
It’s a perfect place to gather, filled with memories of loved ones (for Shirley Vose, Kris and Gus Hollstein and family, the Szabo family); and it represents DCC at one of it’s most collaborative moments since the church building was constructed nearly 60 years ago. It is a lasting tribute to the value of working together for months and months, an aspiring Eagle Scout, Nick Penkrat, and a grateful spouse, Shirley Vose, with an unfulfilled desire to remember her husband Don, with deep gratitude for his having filled her life with love .
And so, as the Lenten season gives way for the Easter celebrations, we will gather in the Resurrection Garden! And I easily imagine it will be one of the best Easter mornings I have ever celebrated.
The Easter Sunrise services this year will also signal an ending and a new beginning in my life. After 38 years of ordained ministry, which includes being responsible for congregational worship-life, it will be the last time collaborating on all of the worship ideas, resurrection songs, and pulling it all together for the day! Have all the brass players been asked to play?
How beautiful will the chancel and altar be for our Resurrection celebrations? Will all the acolytes show up as scheduled? Will the worship readers practice their parts, so that the pace and rhythm is inviting and evocative of our best Resurrected selves? How many choir members will stay for both the 9:30 and 11:30 worship? Can I keep the timing of my Easter meditation and our celebration of Communion just right?
The middle verse of the “Hymn of Promise” describes the promise of every Easter morning… and every other morning we are given…
There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody,
There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come our future, what it holds a mystery,
Unrevealed until it’s season, something God alone can see.
With another 4 weeks of the Lenten season left to prepare for Resurrection, I am eager to complete the sermon and worship series, focused on “Deadly Sins and Saving Virtues”.
With just a few more months left until we part DCC for retirement, I am looking forward to celebrating several more baptisms, privileged to preside at YoungKwang and Sooah’s wedding in May, a little nervous to be thinking about a “retirement dinner and celebration”, filled with anticipation in relinquishing my pastoral responsibilities to Rev. Heather Valosin, hope-filled about sharing with her some of my visions for DCC’s future, and getting ‘psyched up’ with thoughts of what retirement will hold for Gabriele and me!
As the Lenten roses (hellebores) are already working to push their blooms through winter’s hardened ground to new life, let’s use our energy to first enjoy and then burst through these last days of winter into God’s promised spring of gladness!
Deep peace pure gray of the winter skies to you…
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