What a relief that Lent is finally over!
While I knew and recognized the value in the time a part from normalcy in worship and in having conversations about sin, confession and repentance, it struck me again this year how difficult the outlook of Lent is.
Not only did it affect me personally, but I saw the contemplative spirit of Lent putting a somber mood on the congregation as well.
For a church like ours that is still in the re-birth and re-organization phase, a somber spirit is not exactly what helps us out. (We need all the energy, excitement and enthusiasm that we can get!)
So, for this reason and many more, I rejoiced and was glad to say on April 4th: “Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed!” with the church full of joyful worshipers. We received the gift we’d be waiting for: resurrection came! It was a great day of celebration for us, as we joined together with all the saints of God around the world to say with shouts of praise: “Pain and death do not have the last word! In Christ, all things are possible. New life is here!”
And, now, as the second Sunday after Easter is upon us this week, our intention as a church is to stay with the resurrection message longer than just one Sunday.
Over the next couple of weeks (until Pentecost), I’m preaching through the book of Acts about how resurrection unfolds throughout the story of the early church. Each week, the hope is to uncover a little bit more about how resurrection can form the stories of our lives into beautiful witnesses of the goodness of God.
By slowing ourselves down here, instead of rushing through Easter season, I’m observing again how much hope is ours to claim being a people of the resurrection.
In particular, the hope found within the Easter season gives us courage to dream a little bigger dreams, make plans for greater things than we can see right in front of our faces, and to realize once again that participation in the kingdom of God is how the Christian faith has its power. We have the extra umph in our step to actually believe that life changing things could actually happen through us.
I’m already seeing evidence of this around the church and wanted to share a few examples with you-
1. Plans are being made to embark on a new adventure of community partnership with Reston Interfaith as Washington Plaza will soon be matched with a local area family in need through the Family Mentoring Program for the next year. I’m thankful for our two program coordinators who will soon be going through training to help lead us. Resurrection is unfolding as we will soon have a tangible way to do community ministry in Reston unlike anything we’ve ever done before TOGETHER.
2. Contractors have been selected, funding has been approved by the congregation, and we are waiting to hear about opportunities for a loan. Why? Much-needed building repair can encourage us to continue to use our physical plant to be of service to the community. Resurrection is unfolding as we show ourselves and our neighbors that Washington Plaza is alive and well and committed to making a difference in the Lake Anne neighborhood.
3. New young adults and children are finding us every week. The children’s Sunday School area is constantly growing. Children of the church are forming community with each other. And, the hearts of long-timers are being encouraged through seeing the under 40 crowd grow on a weekly basis. Resurrection is unfolding as God is calling new faces with unique stories, gifts and passions to share with us that are guiding us in our becoming.
And, in other ways, this list could go on. Washington Plaza friends, keep your eyes open, for new life is springing up all around you. Do you perceive it? But, even more importantly what are you doing to participate in resurrection?