Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter is my story, too

Last Monday, pastor Jim Shepherd of Goodrich United Methodist Church sent out a Facebook invitation for people to help with his Easter sermon: "Easter is our story, too. I would like to hear why Easter is important to you.  ... I want to hear how the resurrection of Christ has changed your life."

I didn't manage to write up anything in a timely fashion to contribute, but the question stayed with me all through Holy Week. And now it is the end of Resurrection Day. I don't want to go to bed without exploring this. 

It may not be as much how it has changed my life as how it is changing my life. I grew up attending Methodist churches -- sprinkled in baptism as an infant, confirmed into membership as a preteen and married as an adult. I  think I have probably attended worship at a Methodist church somewhere every Easter of my life. 

I have always been a believer in what we sing and recite and hear preached and proclaimed -- but I also know that I take it for granted on some level and also struggle to understand. 

-- "He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today ... You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart!"

-- "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow ... all sin is gone ... Life is worth the living ..."

-- "For God so loved the world that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him would not perish but have eternal life."  

-- My sins are forgiven, covered by His sacrifice, and as He rose to new life, I, too, can be transformed. 

For many years, I've taken on various spiritual studies during Lent, trying to grow deeper in my faith and understanding. 

 I believe, but what does it mean to me to believe? Again this Sunday, I found myself pondering my belief as a knelt for Holy Communion. What does it all mean?

I know I believe, but what does that belief mean for me? What difference does it make in my life?

I still can't put it into words. Hope and transformation are key. 

A thought I've had as Lent and Holy Week gave way to Resurrection Sunday is that I plan to continue some of my Lenten disciplines past this Sunday. 

Somehow, the 40 days of Lent were too quick a period for this slow learner to embrace those 40 things I wanted to give up. Why not start over and take my time to study the suggestions and related Scriptures and questions? That is my new goal. 

I also want to continue the partial fast one day a week (but NOT Friday!!).

Continuing these disciplines  won't answer my question -- what difference does what I believe about Christ's resurrection make in my life? -- but I think they can help guide me in my search for the answer. 

Lord, I believe. And I don't insist on understanding. But I wouldn't mind having a stronger sense of what it all means. 

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