Yesterday was Easter. The week leading up to Easter was good, except that it didn't seem like anyone knew what was going on for the Maundy Thursday service. It wasn't until it happened that we knew what was happening. I was asked on Wednesday to get youth to assist with Communion; now, if I'd had the chance to speak to any of the youth group face-to-face (such as, if I'd had a weekend to recruit), I'm sure I could have gotten plenty. There's a volunteer who has told me she would be more than willing to make phone calls, but she wasn't in town. So we got staff to do it, and it worked out fine. I think D thought I was in charge of the service, and I guess I've been the point person for the last several years (and before me, I think the Associate Pastors were more involved; I know DC was). The truth was, this was the choir's thing, and I let L plan it all, and she's always done a fantastic job. It's always been one of the most moving services we have. This year, though, D scheduled a guest preacher and originally wasn't going to have L plan. But he had a change of heart and let her plan the service itself. So I was out of the loop all the way. Then D started asking me what was going on...
As it happened, I was in charge of a prayer station (besides my readings, which I also didn't get until Wednesday). I was amazed at how many people came needing prayer. The 10 second prayers that we were taught in Nehemiah Institute really paid off. To me, that was an extremely holy time, to do a priestly duty, to intercede on the behalf of others.
On Good Friday, I was (this time for real) in charge of the service. I got the idea for the theme from Derek a week ago, and I thought it would work well for us. I wrote meditations on each of Jesus' last words on the cross and invited the congregation to contemplate different things, such as:
- What has God forgiven you of? Where do you still need his forgiveness?
- Where is your level of compassion for those who suffer?
- What is your desire? What is God’s will?
- What good work has he begun in you?
- What do you need to give up to God? What are you holding on to?
I thought it was a very meaningful service. Afterwords, we headed to Olde Gahanna for a community Passion walk. Some 150-200 people joined us on a chilly, dreary day (it didn't rain on us, though). I carried the cross for about a block. It got very heavy as I walked with it; I kept having to shift it around and was extremely self-conscious of that fact. I just didn't want to drop it. It made me think of Jesus, carrying his cross, despite the torture he had already endured...
Easter itself was pretty good. I realized I'd forgotten to take my Claritin, so I had to go back during pre-service prayer to take some; I wouldn't have been able to take the lillies without it! During the 11:00 service (the big one), the video we were supposed to show (a promo for Alpha) didn't show. The audio worked, but the video didn't. It was fine during 8:30. So I had to get up and explain that our two sessions of Alpha were starting on the 3rd and the 5th. No problem, except that something happened and there was horrible feedback. It was this awful, loud sound, not the high-pitched scream that you might be thinking of, but a raspy loud thunder. I "saved" it by saying, "I think God's trying to get your attention and to make sure you know that it's starting on the 3rd and the 5th."
After church, we went to an Easter gathering, where there was a ton of food and an Easter Egg hunt. I thought that if I "hid" eggs, I would be exempt from finding them. Well, they gave me a bag anyway. :-) So I picked up one, and then I just played with Jonathan and the egg he found. Tara, on the other hand, picked up the slack for the Vinsons. It wasn't long after that when I went home; we put Jonathan to bed, and Tara went back over to hang out and play cards. I sat and watched a thrilling double overtime basketball game: MSU vs. UK. I had conflicting allegience, because I like to see UK win because of my time in Kentucky, but I'm a Big Ten man, so I ended up cheering for MSU.
Anyway, this has been a long entry, mainly devoid of deep thought, so I'll wrap up.