Join the Joy!
If I were asked to describe our Easter services or the season of Easter I would use the word “joy” to describe them both. Both of our Easter services were joyous services as we gathered to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. Both of our Easter services brought joy to all in attendance as we entered the church to have our breath taken away by it’s beauty and then by the power of the worship service itself. Both of our Easter services were filled with joy as God’s Holy Spirit was with us as we praised God in word, prayer, song and spirit. These were two glorious services that brought joy to our hearts and lives as we worshipped God for His gift of a Savior. Yet, if you weren’t present it’s hard to grasp or understand the real joy of the moment or of those worship services. I guess you just had to be there to understand.
The season of Easter is also a season filled with joy. Each week throughout Easter we are encountering the risen Christ as he appears to his disciples and others. And as we read about these encounters, we are witnesses to the transformation of those disciples from an attitude of fear and disbelief to an attitude of joy and belief. We read about Thomas, who wasn’t there the first time Jesus appeared and even when he heard, he said he would not believe until he saw and touched the wounds. But then he was there the next time and he did believe and he was filled with joy. Each time Jesus appears another person is transformed from doubt and despair and disbelief to belief and hope and joy. But these transformations were happening because people were present. I guess you just had to be there to be transformed.
As we read more and more about the resurrection appearances we learn that people will come to believe not by seeing and touching but by the gift of the Holy Spirit. Jesus says blessed are those who have not seen and come to believe in him. And at that instant there is a shift where the disciples and all future believers in Jesus as Lord and Savior are trusted with sharing the message of the resurrection of Jesus and spreading the joy of that news. But again it seems as if this message and witness is shared through interaction and being present. By this point it seems obvious that the joy we experience in Christ comes to us when we are present in community with other people who believe. I like that truth for it is the truth that when we gather in praise and celebration of the risen Lord, we will find ourselves filled with joy.
If you happened to miss the Easter Sunday services you missed the services where the church pulls out all the stops as the announcement that Christ is no longer in the tomb but risen is proclaimed. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss the joy that comes with Easter. Every Sunday as we celebrate Christ’s resurrection we are filled with joy. Every time we gather in worship we are filled with joy at God’s good news. Every time the church community comes together there is joy in our midst. And when someone new hears the news of the risen Lord, both they and we are filled with new joy.
So let me invite you and encourage you to be present as God is continually filling us with joy and hope and awe and amazement at His great love for us that is constantly being shown to us through His son Jesus Christ our Lord. Come join the joy.
Pastor Butler +