April 11, 2020
The Saturday between Good Friday and Resurrection Day has always seemed a bit surreal to me. We live with the advantage of hindsight. We know (and remember) that Christ was crucified and we know and celebrate that he rose again. Our remembrance on Good Friday does not have the same hopelessness that his followers felt as his body was laid in the tomb and neither does our celebration have quite the same, “are you kidding me?!” reaction they experienced either. But, that’s okay. It is in our anticipation of gathering together and celebrating the resurrection of Christ that we bring to the church service all of our stories, our sin, our shame, our sorrow now promised to be buried in the deepest sea by a Savior who died in our place and rose again. We also bring our memories, of our family members and dear friends in Christ who have been taken from us in death whom we anticipate a grand reunion with. We bring all of that hope and promise for ourselves and a hope and promise we want shared with our children and grandchildren. It all wells up in our hearts, guts and in our throats as we can’t wait to all shout together, “HE IS RISEN INDEED!” as if the resurrection of Jesus depended on our decibel level.
If you could see me as I write this, you would see tears in my eyes, and on my cheeks, because we are not gathering tomorrow to celebrate together. The text I have chosen, the sermon that I have prepared will be preached to an empty Worship Center, yet watched by many. This is just one of many griefs that this virus has brought about. However, this grief will not last, and that is
the great promise of the resurrection.
While I will deeply miss your singing, your shouting, “He is risen INDEED!” (be prepared to shout it at home tomorrow), your smiles, your families gathering for pictures on the grounds and in the building, the reunion, and the festivities, the truth is, Christ is risen and our griefs at these losses will one day be replaced by our mutual joy that only anticipates a greater and more permanent one to come.
Beloved, you are prayed for, you are missed because your life and your faithfulness matter to God and to one another. Everyday of our lockdown is one day closer to reunion and one step closer to the ultimate reunion that all others will pale next to.
This Saturday is even more surreal than usual, but perhaps closer in feel to the what the disciples experienced. They did not know what was going to happen, but knew enough about Christ to know that something had to. Sunday is coming!
2 more things:
The first two recipes from Cathi’s kitchen (bread and granola) were from her side of the recipe box. This one (M&M cookies) is more my style. Actually this really is THE Johnson cookie! Like the first two recipes, it can be made with kids, but the result of this one is something you can eat at all hours of the day and night (though you really shouldn’t, you’ll want to).
1 Cup shortening (butter flavor is good)
1 Cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 Cup granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 Cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 - 2 Cups plain M&M’s
Blend shortening and sugars. Beat in vanilla and eggs. Stir together remaining dry ingredients. Add this to the sugar and egg mixture. Mix well. Stir in half Cup of M&M’s. Reserve the remaining M&M’s for decorating the top. Drop from teaspoon onto greased or parchment lined cookie sheet. Decorate with remaining M&M’s. Bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes. Cool on rack. Makes about 4-5 dozen. Eat in one day. (That sentence was from me.)
Finally, at the bottom of this is a link to a video that Cathi and I did of a little story for the children in our church. Since most of the videos (Psalms and services) are more oriented to an older audience, we wanted to do something for the kids because we think about them a lot too.
He is Risen Indeed!