Dear First Methodist Family,

Easter weekend in knocking on our door in our “Road to Easter” message series.  This weekend the message is “Crossroads and Intersections.”  The following weekend,  April 8 and 9 is “Palms in the Path.”   Then Easter weekend will be here on April 15 and 16.   What a great time of the year for the church.

In the early days of the Christian church, as new converts became part of the Christian faith and the religion spread across the Roman Empire, the early Christians had a greeting for one another.  Just as I might say to you, “Good morning,” and you would reply, “Good morning to you,” their greeting was “He is risen,” to which the other replied, “He is risen, indeed!”

Easter LogoI include just such a greeting in every Easter morning liturgy.  We’ll say these words to each other during Easter worship.  We’ll each bring fresh flowers to place on a rough wooden cross as we experience the transformation of the old rugged cross into a cross that is filled with life.  We will shout with the angels “He is not here but has risen!”  We will revel in those seven words that have changed the course of history in our world.

What turned the broken and heartsick disciples into courageous and bold kingdom builders?  “He is not here, but has risen!   The discouraged disciples became strong and confident in their faith.  They now knew that God had made Christ stronger than those who sought to silence him.  They sang, they rejoiced, they healed, they taught, they preached, and they lived triumphantly.  And they did not do these things for only a few days of passing enthusiasm after the resurrection of Christ, but they did them for the rest of their lives.   Why?  Because “He is not here, but has risen!

But it took more than an event for this to occur.  Just observing the event of the resurrection was not enough to turn discouraged disciples into messengers of hope, or to convert disillusioned disciples into proclaimers of the Christian faith.  It took more than an event.   It took a personal experience with the risen Christ.  The event had to become an experience in order for their lives to be changed.

Easter Sunday is a day we commemorate and celebrate the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.  There will be an Easter sunrise service at 6:45 a.m. at the amphitheater at the McLennan Junior College campus.  It’s easy to find.  Follow the cars and look for the lights.  We’ll have three Easter worship services at their regular times where the flower covered cross will be brought down the center aisle in the beauty of its dramatic transformation. (Don’t forget to bring a flower for each member of your family and maybe an extra for one of our visitors.  The music of the church will be at its high point as the Lenten drama is transformed into an Easter celebration.  We’ll also have Encore worship on Easter at its regular time, (5:30 pm) and the flower covered cross will be central to all of our services.

But we have two worship weekends and an important schedule before Easter weekend.  We have this weekend and Palm Sunday first.  The cross always comes before the crown.  We have Holy week with Maundy Thursday Passion and communion on April 13th at 6:00 pm.  We’ll have a fun Easter egg hunt at 10:00 am on Saturday, April 15th at Poage Park.  It’s a family time you will not want to miss, and an Easter Egg hunt is over quickly, so be early and enjoy the playground.   But remember, the cross always comes first, but the resurrection always follows.

 “He is not here, but has risen!”  He is King of Kings and Lord of Lord’s. Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  The Lord God omnipotent reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Pastor Steve Ramsdell