Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
It’s a very distinctive sound. It’s not a clanging, but a muted clatter. I’m referencing the noise our congregation’s massive aluminum ladder makes as it carried into the sanctuary.
Yes, after the preponderance of people have left church for the evening, sometimes in complete silence during Holy Week, there is important work that is unfolding. A large piece of cloth is hung from the cross, paraments are put up and taken down, banners are hoisted aloft… I could go on and on here, but you get the idea.
I give heartfelt thanks for all the folks that work behind the scenes; doing everything from ushering our members to seats on Easter morning to arranging lilies around the altar.
Now, of course… as I consider all the effort it takes to facilitate our worship experiences this week, it draws me into a deeper contemplation of the work of Christ.
We will hear vivid accounts of what the “last supper” was like. A very clear picture is painted of Jesus’ time on the cross. But there was work that we might be able to call, “behind the scenes,” or maybe “behind the stone” that would eventually be rolled away.
Yes, it’s difficult to know what exactly happened between the time Jesus was entombed and the moment when he began to greet the disciples as our resurrected Lord.
But make no mistake, that was the time, the moments we know the least about, are the moments during which our gracious God brought Christ from death to life. And in the process blessed us all with the gift of resurrection. The moments we cannot see, the moments that take the most faith are precisely the moments that shape our lives (especially our eternal lives) most powerfully.
I trust that all our preparation and planning will be worth the effort. There are always a couple of hiccups along the way, but we’ll still be blessed in the days ahead by moving moments of prayer, proclamation, and song. I sincerely hope and pray that you find lasting spiritual renewal during Holy Week and in our celebration of Easter.
As for me, when I hear that ladder coming this week, I’ll smile a little more than usual. That happy clatter will encourage me to consider what it must have sounded like when that stone was finally rolled away. Hey, wait a minute, who rolled that stone away anyway?
Well, whoever it was… thank you, no really, we’re so very grateful!
Question for reflection: Is there some small way you could make your Easter celebration a little more joyful?
Yours in Christ,
God of grace and glory, our lives are rooted in your promises.Fill our spirits with light and joy as we celebrate the resurrection, our hope in you, and our daily movement from death to life.We pray this all in Jesus’ name, Amen.