Waiting for Good News
April 07, 2023
On Sunday, we had marathon worship service, filled with powerful music and Scripture. It would have been long even without Communion, but I grossly underestimated its length for a Communion Sunday! I’ve now used up all the time we saved on the weeks we’ve run short!!
As I was looking at the arc of Holy Week here at St. Mark’s, it was important for me for us to read through the liturgy of the passion, making it a Palms and Passion Sunday rather than a simple Palm Sunday. Our Maundy Thursday service focused on the foot-washing and Communion portions of the John narrative. The Good Friday service is a dramatic interpretation of events. The service on Sunday helped to fill those gaps, to hear the story of this Holy Week from Scripture. We listened to the nuances of the story. Were reminded of the powerful and the powerless. Had a chance to catch a detail we didn’t see last time.
That’s what Scripture does, isn’t it? It is new each time you read it. It speaks a different message each time you sit with it. It allows the Spirit to move among the words and into your heart.
And so we heard of Pilate and Barrabas, of Judas and of Peter. We heard of the Last Supper and the prayers in the garden. We heard of the soldiers and the bandits. But we didn’t hear of the rest of the story. We didn’t hear of the resurrection, the empty tomb, the joyful disciples, the changed women. That story is yet to be told. We will hear that story as we come together on Sunday, proclaiming that Christ is Risen! Christ is Risen indeed!
The gospel story is indeed a story of good news for the world. The resurrection of Christ is good news for you and me, but it’s also good news for the world. And for us to see that, we have to first see what the world is facing. So on this weekend of darkness, open your eyes. Look around. In the days and hours until Sunday morning, I invite you to sit with the pain of the world for a few minutes. In the hours to come, look around and see the despair around you. In the waiting, notice the fears of those you meet.
Do you see the kids practicing active shooter drills in schools in preschool and kindergarten?
Do you see the youth targeted by vaping companies?
Do you see the teens dealing with crushing anxiety and depression?
Do you see the families looking for affordable housing that’s not available?
Do you see the single people, longing for meaningful connections with people in a world focused on “families”?
Do you see the earth groaning with pains, from tornadoes to heat waves to frigid cold to hurricanes?
Do you see the pain of wars and the pain of soldiers who return from wars?
Do you see the darkness in our world?
The gospel lesson is good news for all the world. As we worship the Risen Christ on Sunday, may we bring the darkness of the world to the empty tomb, that the light of Christ might dispel that darkness. As we worship the Risen Christ, may our own lights be renewed, that we might share with the world. Notice the pain around you, but then come be reminded of the good news of Christ.
See you Sunday! Greet the sun at our Sunrise Service featuring our youth. Come inside for Easter worship, with brass and choirs and organ and more. (And I promise, it won’t go that long!) And of course, bring a flower for the cross, eat pancakes to support the youth, and make a new friend! Wear your Easter bonnet if you want!
See you Sunday!
Practice 60 Second Conversations this Easter Sunday. As you come to worship this Sunday, we encourage you to engage in a 60-second conversation with someone you don’t know, preferably before you greet your own friends. If possible, introduce that person to someone you do know. You can practice in the Sanctuary before worship begins or practice at the pancake breakfast! Invite someone to your table to eat with you! This is a great way to welcome visitors to our congregation on this special day.
- 8:30 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
- 10 a.m. Traditional service in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
- 10 a.m. Youth and children’s Sunday School and child care (except fifth Sundays)
- 10 a.m. Livestream premieres on YouTube and Website
To access our livestream service:
- From the main menu on our website click “Worship.” -OR-
- Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.