Hello Brothers & Sisters,
I hope your experience of Holy Week and Easter Sunday was as edifying for you as it was for our church staff. As we reflected on the previous week in our staff meeting yesterday, we were particularly encouraged by your participation this year in our Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. Not only has Jesus risen, but our attendance has risen in these two services! More of you are finding these services to be deeply meaningful and formative in our (re)telling of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. I suspect that our appreciation for these services will only grow.
I heard a few people say, “Easter was far more meaningful because of the Good Friday service!” And to that I say, “Amen!” I personally didn’t grow up in a tradition that recognized holy days, beyond Christmas and Easter, of course. But now that I have been exploring more of the church calendar over the last several years, I can say that it has genuinely impacted my understanding of the gospel and deepened my faith in Christ. And I know that I’m not alone in this experience. Many of you have been on a similar journey.
As I recently read in the book, Ever Ancient, Ever New: The Allure of Liturgy for a New Generation (2019), there appears to be a move of the Spirit toward the sacramental and liturgical among the church in North America. I’m very interested in that and would like to see our congregation continue to explore the power of the church calendar and liturgical practices that can best shape our faith in a post-Christian world. For us at Grantham, that means being a convergent congregation that sees the value in life-giving traditions and our connection to historic Christianity, while also embracing modern forms of worship and ministry in an effort to recontextualize the gospel for today. In this way we honor the past but also stay in step with the Spirit, as we move through time—closer and closer to Christ’s return.
Finally, remember that Easter isn’t one day, it’s a season! Lent was 40 days, but Easter is 50 days. In Eastertide, we learn and reflect on what it means to live into the reality that Christ has risen from the dead. Join us this Sunday for worship as we continue to celebrate Easter and consider what it means for our church to be a resurrection community on mission to make disciples and further new creation.
Until we gather again, may the Spirit fill you with the hope and joy that comes from the good news that God has raised Jesus from the dead.
Grace & Peace,
P.S. Don’t forget that our Peacemakers Workshop “Talking It Through: Staying Connected When We Disagree” is this Saturday from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm in C8-12. The workshop will be co-facilitated by Jim and Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz. Lunch will be provided by Messiah College and SEATING IS LIMITED. Time is running out! Please register ASAP for this FREE workshop by emailing the church office (email@example.com).