by Rick Diamond

Easter Sunday is sort of the Super Bowl or The Masters or The Oscars of Christianity. It’s the big celebration. I know, Christmas is a bigger cultural event, but Easter has the juice on Christian theology. The resurrection of Christ has always been Christianity’s big offering to Western religion. So, Christian churches tend to go all-out on Easter.

I personally am not a big fan of the big show. Easter at Journey is beautiful, but it doesn’t feel artificially inflated to me. It’s really not that different from other Sundays; the message is the same. Love wins.

For early followers of Jesus, every Sunday was resurrection day. (In time the Roman Christian Church decided to celebrate specifically the resurrection once a year.) And, for their weekly calendars -- Sunday was what for us is Monday (“the first day of the week.”) I still have trouble getting my head around that concept. It’s as if something important happened in our culture, and a group of us felt so strongly about it that we began to see that day as the sacred day every week. Tuesday, for instance. And over the centuries, as there are more and more of us, and we keep practicing worship and rest and telling the story on Tuesdays, everyone comes to see Tuesdays as holy, and everybody takes Tuesdays off. And then, in time, everyone thinks Tuesdays are sacred and that God thinks Tuesdays are the best day of all.

Sunday isn't “The Sabbath,” by the way -- the Jewish Sabbath is Friday at sundown 'til Saturday at sundown. So, as happens a lot, Christians who quote scripture out of context are wrong -- since Sunday isn't “The Sabbath,” do all those rules in the Jewish Scriptures/Torah apply to Christians? Well, Christians say, we don’t have to observe the Old Testament rules because Christ came and set us free from the Torah. And yet, when it suits something they want to assert, Christians quote the Jewish Scriptures all the time. Even about The Sabbath. Which they observe on Sundays. Which isn't scriptural. Bless our hearts… we human beings like to be right, and we pick up something that helps us be right and we hang onto it, whether it’s completely valid or not…

Where was I? Oh -- every Sunday was resurrection day. Early Jesus people saw every Sunday (their Monday) as the day to celebrate that Christ came to set us free. Just as we do, they gathered and prayed and told the stories and sang and loved on each other and remembered. But there’s something cool about doing that on Monday morning; everybody hates Mondays, but not the early Christians. They started every week with the big, big story: you can't kill Love.

Oh -- and -- you can't.

Listen to the Service

Today's Program

Gathering Our Spirit to God’s Spirit 

The set-up from the prayer vigil will be adapted to focus on the front of the room, as well as accommodating 250 chairs (cushy chairs must go…)
  • “The Easter Song” by 2nd Chapter of Acts plays
  • A Journeyer steps up to light the lamp and another rings the bell
  • David welcomes folks and has us breathe… wraps up our Lenten series
  • Leslie makes announcements

Worshiping with Our Children

  • A Journeyer leads our children in talking about how wonderfully joyful and peaceful it is when we realize that through the darkest and most confusing of times, there is someone who helps us make sense of it all and shows us that love wins.

From Our Spirit to God’s Spirit

  • Renee leads us in singing two songs
  • Seven Journeyers (who can read loudly) stand in the congregation and loudly read their phrases reminding us of the stops along our Lenten Journey
“Pay attention to the things that lead to peace”
“Follow only God”
“Give to the world the things that belong to the world, and give to God the things that belong to God”
“Let God show you the things that feed your soul and do not destroy it”
“Be anxious for nothing”
“Look up and remember that God has delivered you from slavery”
“Give up the plan and just love instead”

Giving -- To Help God Do God’s Work in This World  

  • Dave sings “24” as the ushers pass and collect the offering baskets and bring them to the cross

Telling the Story and Our Story

  • Rick talks
  • Rick leads the community in an opportunity to cut down a piece of the yarn web for themselves that helps them remember the things that help them experience God’s Shalom, and cut other parts that need to be taken and left at the foot of the cross

We Go Out to Serve with Mercy and Grace

  • Renee and Dave lead the community in singing “O Happy Day”
  • David dismisses as Aretha Franklin’s “O Happy Day” plays