Gainesville District

 

             

 

“It’s Not Why We Come…”

  
                On Sunday, April 1st, sanctuaries around the world will be full.  Many of us will have started very early to get family, guest, and ourselves ready to go to church and making arrangements for lunch after the service.  There will be a sense of expectation.  Preparations may be starting in the dark, but there will be the knowledge that the risen Christ will be celebrated.

                What if we were coming to the tomb on the very first Easter?  The darkness of the morning would have just added to the darkness of the soul.  Jesus, the one that was so loved, had been nailed to a cross and his body taken to be sealed in a tomb.  The expectation of that morning would have been to find his dead, cold body in the tomb.

                Let’s take a moment to recall the actions of Mary and the two disciples.  Mary in her despair came to the empty tomb first.  She came out of devotion.  She came because Jesus had loved her and she loved Jesus.  Someone needed to come to make sure that everything was alright and everything was in order.  She found the empty tomb and went to find Peter and the other disciple.

                When Peter and the other disciple heard the news, they went running to see for themselves.  They too found the tomb empty.  They came out of curiosity.

                On Easter Sunday morning we will all come to the service for the same reasons. Some of us will come for devotion and some will come for curiosity.

                If we come for devotion it could be devotion to several different things.  It could be devotion to your family.  It is important to be with and honor our family on such an occasion.  It could be devotion to the day or the tradition – after all it is Easter.  It could be devotion to the risen Lord.  Attendance at a worship service to celebrate the risen Lord seems to be the right thing to do for those who are devoted to Christ.

                There are also many reasons to come out of curiosity.  Perhaps, we have seen the crosses outside many of the churches and we wonder what all the fuss is about.  Perhaps, there was an invitation from a friend or coworker.  Perhaps, we come to see if Easter really does have meaning.  Maybe, just maybe, we are curious to see if the risen Christ really can have meaning in our lives.

                Returning to the actions of Mary and the disciples, Peter and the other disciples left to go back home still not knowing what they had seen and witnessed.  Mary stayed at the tomb in distress because Jesus’ body was gone.  She was confused and heartbroken when she looked in the tomb and saw two angels.  “Why are you crying?” they asked.  She replied, “They have taken my Lord away”.  Then Jesus asked her, “Why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” She wanted to know where they had taken Jesus.  It was then that Jesus called her by name.  She recognized his voice and she was filled with joy.  It was then that she returned to the disciples and told them that she had seen the Lord.

                So those of us who attend worship on Easter, it does not really matter whether we come for curiosity or devotion.  Either reason is sufficient for being there.  What matters is what we do when we leave.

                Some of us will leave saying that we had a nice experience.  The sanctuary was beautiful.  It was great to see the sanctuary full and was wonderful to see folks we haven’t seen for a while.  It was great to hear the wonderful hymns and the terrific special music.  Maybe we might even leave saying what a blessing to make Mama proud for being in church.  There is the reality that some of us will leave just like the disciples not understanding the scriptures or the significance of the empty tomb.

                Then there will be some of us who will leave saying that we have seen the Lord!  Some of us will understand the Easter is the defining moment of our faith.  It will be reaffirmed that because of the empty tomb we can say that we have seen the Lord.  We can say that our lives are forever changed because of the one who died and now lives for us.  Although we came in darkness, rushed and distracted by life, we can leave knowing and acknowledging the One who offers eternal light.  We can leave hearing our own names called by the one who knows us by name.

                Folks, it is not why we come – it is how we leave.  Christ has risen – Christ has risen indeed!

   Blessing,

Richard

 

District Superintendent


Richard Chewning
(770) 536-2586
richard.chewning@ngumc.net
View Bio

Administrative Assistant

Beth Steed
(770) 536-2586
gnsv@ngumc.net

Contact Information

343 Northside Drive  
Gainesville, GA 30501  

(770) 536-2586 Phone
(770) 536-7188 Fax

gnsv@ngumc.net http://www.ngumc.org/gnsv