by Ruth Hallstead
During the Good Friday service at First UMC, the pastor approached the message as though he were speaking directly to God. He took the words “Father forgive them” and turned it into a question. He questioned why Jesus would let them go without punishment. Halfway through though, he switched gears from “how could you forgive them?” to “Oh no, I am them”. As he discussed this, he spoke about denying Jesus, being ashamed of your faith, and being Peter before the cock crowed. This really resonated with me. I am not ashamed of my faith, yet I don’t always show that. I have to send a weekly report to one of my advisers, and I always say something like have a good weekend, or enjoy the sunshine or something so that it isn’t just a blank email with an attachment. This week when I sent it I paused though. My instinct was to say Happy Easter… after all, the Lord was about to rise!! But I still hesitated before writing Happy Easter. Yesterday was exciting: Jesus rose! We cannot stay quiet about that, if we truly embrace what just happened. Not only did a dead man rise from the grave after three days of being dead, but that man rose to save us even after we denied, beat and betrayed Him and then killed Him in the worst possible way (essentially slow suffocation)! What?! And guess what, He’s stayin’ risen! While as Wade so eloquently put it, we shouldn’t be those weird Christians, we’re always going to be a little odd (if we follow the guy who ate with sinners, cleaned a blind guy’s eyes out with mud, and forgave men who crucified Him for being different). So someone might be a tad bit uncomfortable if you tell them Happy Easter, or they might think differently about you if you say no to something because it conflicts with your Bible study, and maybe they will laugh at your invitation to the Rising. Tell them anyway. Invite them anyway. Laugh with them. Because, Sorry, we’re not sorry for rejoicing in the joy of the Lord. Christ the Lord is risen today, and every day after…join me in singing Alleluia!