This year, Easter’s going to be a little different than it has been in the past here in our little community. For one thing, like a lot of the houses here, the beach house where Bethany Congregational and the Church of the Nazarene held our joint Son-rise service is still a mess after the ravages of Sandy. The outdoor deck where we held the service is still there, but the interior where we gathered for breakfast and fellowship is completely destroyed. Many of the people who came every year from the neighborhood are not here either — they’re still not in their homes, still fighting with insurance companies, still wondering how they’ll find a way to get them fixed and raised, still wondering if they’ll get back in at all.
I even entertained the thought of canceling this year, thinking that maybe it was just too sad gathering on the deck of a ruined beach house in the cold of Easter morning after all we’d been through. But folks here didn’t want to cancel and they were right. We, after all, are disciples of an itinerant preacher in a homespun robe whose public execution was supposed to be the end of his ministry and message, but which instead, through his resurrection, transformed death into new life and the end of things into the beginning of something new. There is no better place or time for us to gather on Easter Sunday morning, to declare our faith in the new life that God has promised will indeed spring from the ruins of the old than where the storm took so much from so many. This Easter will indeed be different, it will be all the more meaningful, because God has brought us through the waters and through His grace, we will rise again. Happy Easter!
Pastor Mark Lukens, Bethany Congregational Church