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A Letter From Pastor Jeff Sievert

He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’   Matthew 28   

We recently received a promotion for material promising to help churches have a bigger better Easter.  Eager to embrace such a possibility I quickly clicked on the link to download the free guide.

Imagine my disappointment to discover I’d been directed to a blank white screen.  I immediately replied to the email to explain the situation noting my amazement that anything could be bigger and better than God raising Jesus from the dead to redeem the entire universe. 

I received a nice response from Betty who gave me another link that did work, and said my comment made her smile.  Betty and I have a connection now. 

Then I discovered that to get the guide I’d have to provide my name and number and how many people worship here on a Sunday.

At that point I lost interest in a bigger and better Easter and steeled myself for the smaller and inferior Easter to which I’d grown accustomed.  You know, the one where people gather in congregations great and small to sing the Easter Hymn, light the fire, get doused in the water, share the bread and cup, pray and celebrate and weep together, hold each other in love, and go out to feed the hungry, put pencils in the hands of needy students, and offer welcoming hospitality to the stranger?  That one.  

Oh I get it.  Big churches want to get bigger and small churches want to grow.  There are strategies to help us succeed in those goals.  We appreciate Betty’s help to fulfill our mission.  I also received an email offering a FREE GUIDE outlining “6 Easy Steps to Turn Easter Visitors into Engaged Members.” 

Another subject line asked convincingly, “Will people feel welcome at your church this Easter?”  And continued:  Nurturing a sense of belonging in your church.  Call Us: 800-675-7430.  Visit Our Website.  Read Online.  Vanco Payment Solutions.  Vanco's guide to nurturing a sense of belonging in your church this Easter.  

All these things can be helpful, in the same way the printing press greased the gears of the Protestant Reformation.  But the resurrection of Jesus is not an opportunity to be seized, even for noble purposes.  It’s a cosmic game changer.  A universe tilting event.  A truth to be cherished.   

What’s important about Jesus’ resurrection is that it opens the door, paves the way, to a new quality of life.  What’s important is that Jesus challenged hate with love, power with vulnerability, rage with peace, and he won.  It won.

As Rob Bell put it succinctly, “love wins.”   I don’t know if our Easter will be bigger and better, or visitors will become engaged members, or even feel welcome.  None of that changes the central affirmation:  He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.

See you in Galilee,

Jeffrey S. Sievert, Pastor