The day after Easter is always a day off for me when I give thanks for the laity of the church. Many persons giving their time and talent to enhance the community experience. Here it goes:
For Deblynne who prepared and published the worship bulletins and received and placed the flowers. For Ettie Mae and Rhonda cleaning and helping Eugene fold bulletins. For Judy C and Laura H who prepared the altar. For Barbara and Jim who prepared the communion elements. For Sonny and Sue Dale and Barbara and Dave who served at communion. For Larry and Glenn who ushered. For Connie and Missy who prepared and led our choral music. For Cheryl and her Lay Leadership in worship.
For Pete who set up and stayed over at the Pavilion Saturday. For the Praise Team who got up very early to lead our Easter sunrise music: Chris, Dan, Bill, Ron & Judy C, Becky, Laura, Jere, Phil, Geoff, and Dave. For Ross reading scripture and Brother John preaching at sunrise. For Judy T and Ross who helped serve communion at sunrise. For Larry greeting and handing out bulletins.
For the Egg Hunt and Kite Flying Team: Tuesday Evening Women’s Bible Study for loading the eggs; for Emily, Molly, Laura, Judy T, Susi and Ron, Cindy G and Cindy F, Jerry, and Adams grandkids for hosting a great gathering of children on Saturday.
For the guys cooking and serving Sunday breakfast: Patrick, Sam, Doug, Ron, and Bill. For others who prepared food: Geoff and Pete.
For Judy C who wrote our liturgy for Good Friday. And to all who participated in the readings: Cheryl, Patrick, Laura, Larry, and Joyce.
Our ushers informed me that 156 attended Easter Sunrise and 112 were in worship at the 11 am Sanctuary Resurrection Service. Estimated 65 for Sunday breakfast and 33 at Good Friday worship.
I also give thanks for all of the visiting families who make their way to Hunt and the home away from home for Easter. It was great to see so many with us bringing generations back to church at their Hill Country church home.
And to give thanks now for the opportunity to be your pastor and friend.
Along the Way
The Headlines tear us in different directions. The news of the day seems to provide a constant barrage of information which tends to divide us as a people. Choose one side or the other. Join our way because it is the "right" way.
I can say that this season of Lent has been a long and tiresome journey. I do not want to feel this way. And yet I do. And so what is next?
Hold on friends! Sunday is coming! And it is Easter Sunday! May the next three days be a season in itself for us as we make the final steps with Jesus along the Way. Soon we will feast at the Table. Soon we will lament the actions of the mob (and our own actions of disobedience). Soon we will wait in the Sabbath. And then... then, we shall experience resurrection as we hear the words of the first witness Mary when she recognizes the risen Lord (John 20:1-18).
If you are wondering about your own capacity to follow Jesus or wonder about our collective will as a people to follow Jesus, then I invite you to continue reading. Take a look at the scripture reading below. Listen to the sermon provided from the Wednesday service www.pauleharris2017.com/sermons and pray for the strength to continue in the journey of faith.
At last night's Wednesday evening Lent service of worship, the last of this season, we examined our discipleship and our willingness to follow Jesus. We shared the reading from the gospel of Luke 9:57-62:
Would-Be Followers of Jesus57 As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” 58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” 59 To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus[m] said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” 62 Jesus said to him, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
In all three of these encounters, would-be followers of Jesus preface their response to follow with question or need to prioritize something ahead of Jesus: location, position, and family. Jesus tells each - follow me to the kingdom. Do they follow?
The text does not specify the final response. We do not know if each chooses to follow. We know that Jesus had set his face to Jerusalem and was steadily walking ahead into the kingdom work he came to share on earth. Jesus was resolute in his direction. He was obedient to the Father, the Lord God Almighty.
I give thanks today for each of you who reads this note. I ask that Jesus would grant in the grace of God a means by which we can follow the Way of the Lord. I hope that each of us will make a decision to continue the discipleship path. And I long for Sunday.
Hold on friends, Sunday is coming. And it is Easter!
Along the Way
As new life springs forth in the Texas Hill Country, the signs of Easter are near. A recent road trip to Boerne and Fredericksburg included a side trip on the Willow City Loop. This is a great place to drive an old country road with an up close and very personal view of Texas bluebonnets.
The best part of the day was turning over my shoulder to see my mother leaning out of the backseat with her head and shoulder fully outside of the car. She was "experiencing" God's creative beauty and soaking in it all.
I wonder if that image will ever leave my conscious memory? I hope not. Because as these special days with my aging parents will not last forever, I have a hope that this kind of memory will last forever.
It seemed as if a slice of heaven had been transported to that drive and that view of the bluebonnets. A resurrection moment to say the least.
Thank you Lord, for special days in your creative beauty.
Along the Way
Author: Paul E Harris
Journal posts from a pastor and spiritual friend