“….that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but shall have eternal life.” John 3:16
My husband and I found ourselves in Boston a few years ago – toward the end of the Lenten season, on a Sunday morning, rapidly approaching Easter Day. We awoke early, and decided we would just start walking from our downtown hotel until we located a church. We had no preconceived notion we would stumble across a Disciples of Christ Church – we were just in the mood to worship. We made our way through the very quiet streets of early Sunday morning, downtown Boston, on a cool gray day, eyes wide open, looking for anything that noticeably displayed a cross out front – we just needed a church.
And what a church we found. A gorgeous Gothic-style Episcopal church, encrusted in sturdy gray stone, that was no doubt steeped in New England history. Fortunately we arrived before the service began and made our way to one of the front pews. We almost had to look straight up – the pulpit was very high above the congregation. I remember my neck aching, and I certainly expected nothing less than Godly words coming from the mouth of that gray-haired, strong-voiced minister from on high!
And that preacher delivered! The experience of that service is one I will never forget. The ups and downs, standing, sitting, kneeling; the unfamiliar hymns, the gorgeous, huge pipe organ; the creeds, prayers, litanies – none of this sounded or felt like Discipledom!
Once the minister began to speak, I was lulled into full attention – attuned to every word he spoke. He was articulate, with a commanding voice that dared you to “not listen”. He had a message to deliver and he did it well.
I can’t remember exact words, but here’s the crux of the sermon’s ending:
“Jesus had gathered His disciples around Him for that Last Supper. Not only was communion served, His sentences took on a life of their own, as the disciples, worshipping and wondering, wounded and waiting, began to digest the commands they listened to from the lips of the Lord. ‘I’ve taken the lead here on earth during my lifetime, but now it’s time for me to go, to be with my Heavenly Father. I won’t be around you here anymore.’ Can you imagine the suddenness of those words sinking into the hearts of those closest friends, who loved Him more than life itself? He was going away?
Jesus made it clear that even though He wouldn’t be on earth, His Holy Spirit would remain in their hearts and would guide them in their continuing discipleship. ‘But Lord, we don’t know how to do this! What if we CAN’T do this? What if we fail at what you’re asking us to do?’ And the Lord Jesus spoke quietly to them, assuring them that in their dilemma, they would know what to do and how to do it. THERE IS NO ‘PLAN B’!”
The sermon ended with this heart wrenching, spirit-uplifting, promise of eternity from the minister – hoping to touch each soul, to console and delight all in their faith: “Friday, there was the crucifixion. Then there was the body in the tomb. There was agony, sobbing, thrashing and gnashing of teeth; disbelief that their Savior was gone.
But then -hang on – HERE COMES SUNDAY!”
Father in Heaven, thank you for sending your Son to us. We know today that Jesus lives in our hearts. Thank you for entrusting us with the job of discipleship – equip us well through your loving Holy Spirit. May we strive to not disappoint our Lord. We rejoice in anticipating the celebration of that first Easter Sunday morning! Amen.
Posted on Sat, March 11, 2017
by Micah James