As I sit here this morning making the final preparations for the Easter Sunday worship services at Smithville United Methodist Church, I am finally coming into the light. All week I had been having difficulty working on my two Resurrection sermons. Writing them felt like a painful chore earlier in the week, but this morning things seem to be flowing more effortlessly. I think that has to do with the fact that Good Friday is now over. My theme this week has been darkness and “living the lament.” Sitting in the darkened Sanctuary before and after our Tenebrae service last night, I journeyed with Jesus to the cross and lamented his death. And now, only after that experience, can I write about the Resurrection and celebrate its joy.
This is my second Holy Week and Easter as a pastor. Last year, Holy Week came only six weeks after my appointment to Smithville. It was a busy and exciting time, and as a new pastor who wanted to do everything “just right” and make it meaningful for my parishioners, I didn’t truly experience the meaning of it all for myself. This year, however, has been different. With “a little” experience behind me and more comfort in my role as pastor, some of the pressure is off, and I can experience both the intense sadness of Jesus’ death and the exuberant joy of his resurrection during this holiest of seasons.
So today is filled with preparations – finalizing the sermons, steaming my white robe so it is wrinkle-free, last-minute shopping for the Easter breakfast, getting the car washed – all done with anticipation and hope because we know the outcome, the end of the story, a celebration of the Light overcoming darkness –Resurrection!