An Easter YES!

Archive for Easter

An Easter YES!

Roberta Jantzi Egli, Messy Church USA Executive Director

I am exhausted!  How about you?  Last week my husband had a fever for 48 hours which upped my anxiety to overdrive.  I moved out of the bedroom and he was quarantined to that one room for six days (he had to be fever free for 3 days without any medicine).  I thought I had adjusted to the physical distancing and the limitations placed on us all with the pandemic but the fear that Lynn may have COVID-19 practically immobilized me for 24 hours.

We are fortunate, we have a home that has enough rooms so that we can separate when needed. Lynn was only sick for 48 hours and did not develop any further symptoms other than a fever and headache.  Yes, we were inconvenienced and stressed but it lasted less than a week. However, the virus became much more ‘real’ and my eyes have been open to the extreme suffering that COVID-19 is causing throughout our fragile world.

One of my pastor friends preached several weeks ago that she has never had to lead a church through a pandemic as a pastor.  She reminded us that what we all need is grace and compassion. Compassion for our world but also compassion for ourselves. You have never led a Messy Church during a pandemic.  You are adjusting, you are learning, you struggle at times. Please take time this Holy Week and next to rely on the grace of God and give yourself some self-compassion.

One of my spiritual practices the past several years is to place a “Listen for Joy” art card produced by Melanie Weidner (www.listenforjoy.com) on my desk each Monday morning. Melanie’s art card decks and her written reflection have spoken to me deeply.  I am always amazed that the card i randomly pick is exactly what I need to hear. This week, my art card is a drawing of a beautiful rooster shouting “Yes!” in the midst of heavy black scrawls.  in her reflection on this art, Melanie shares that saying yes is the invitation to do “our best even when we feel shaky. Standing our ground in darkness, believing the light will return.”

Saying yes is the invitation to do “our best even when we feel shaky. Standing our ground in darkness, believing the light will return.”

Melanie Weidner, Listen for Joy

What a message for a Holy Week in the midst of a global pandemic.  We are invited to stand our ground in darkness…the darkness as we pray with Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane…the darkness as we pray for those who are separated from their beloved in sickness and death…the darkness of the cross of Good Friday…the darkness of living in the anxiety of the unknown future.  It is okay to feel shaky…we all feel shaky! Yet even in our shakiness, even as we stand our ground in darkness, we have the power through Christ to shout YES!

Yes! Jesus has overcome death!

Yes! Christ is risen!

Yes! We are an Easter People! 

Yes! As an Easter people, we see examples of people rising throughout the world bringing life through acts of compassion, kindness and love!  

My friends, we are not alone, Christ is with us at this time and all times.  May we joyfully shout a loud EASTER YES!

Be on the lookout for daily social media posts as we enter into 50 days of Easter celebration.  We will be posting some favorite Messy Easter activities for you to share with your families at home. We will be shouting yes for the entire 50 days of Easter! 

Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!  YES!  Alleluia!

Prayer for Easter during a Pandemic:  God of all time, our hearts are heavy this Holy Week.  Many of our foundations have been shaken, we are not able to gather together as we struggle to make sense of the suffering of the world.  Yet, even as we shake, we know that the Christ who prayed in darkness while his friends slept, who endured pain and died on the cross, is with us this day.  Easter is not postponed this year… we celebrate the Christ is risen.  Give us the courage to give a loud Easter YES! to the signs of new life in the midst of our pain.  Send your Spirit to breathe peace upon us and guide us into the new day.  In the name of Christ we pray. AMEN.

Happy Easter!

Roberta 

Easter Poem

by Lindsey Goodyear

iStock

When we hear the word Easter, we think bunnies and joy,
An egg hunt and candies for each girl and boy.
But is that really what this whole day is about?
Come along on a journey and you may just find out!

Jesus, our savior, lived so long in the past,
And if you had a question, well, He’s who you asked.
As the one son of God, He was the king of the Jews,
And spent most His time, by spreading good news.

Healing the sick, and feeding the poor,
He gave all He had, and then He gave more.
While most people loved Him, the leaders showed doubt,
They didn’t like Jesus, or what He was about.

And instead of just listening and believing in Him,
They arrested Him starting a scene oh so grim.
They beat Him and hung Him up high on a cross,
Made fun of His teachings, showing Him who was boss.

As He hung up in pain from His head to his toes,
The guards placed their bets to see who’d get His clothes.
He showed love through their hate, it was all that he knew,
“Father, please forgive them, they know not what they do.”

As His friends stayed and wept, the Earth started to shake,
The sky filled with clouds and mountains did break!
Jesus said, “it is finished” then bowed down His head,
A Great sadness came on, their savior was dead.

His friends took him down from the cross to a tomb,
Wrapped Him in cloth and walked out in gloom.
The tomb was still opened, so a boulder was set,
His friends left knowing, Jesus had paid our debt.

And three days after the Lord paid our price,
Three women set out to anoint Him with spice.
On the way they discussed ways to move the huge rock,
But when they arrived, they were met with a shock!

The tomb was now open and up on the stone,
Sat an angel that glowed like a jewel on a throne.
“No need to be frightened” he said to the three,
“He’s not here, He’s risen” come look and you’ll see.

Amazement took over once the women went in,
There was only a cloth, where once Jesus had been.
“Go tell the disciples He’ll be at Galilee”
“He’s alive and He’s back! Our savior is free!”

They went on their way, preparing their story,
When they came across Jesus in all of His glory.
They fell to their knees as they worshiped their king,
And heard the great news that he asked them to bring.

Tell the others you’ve seen me and I’ll see them as well,
Until God calls me home and in Heaven I’ll dwell.
God raised His son despite our sins,
In the end Jesus proved that love always wins.

See Today isn’t about what the Easter bunny gives,
But a hefty reminder that He is risen and lives!

iStock

Lindsey Goodyear lives in Huntington Beach, CA with her family. She attends Messy Church at Community UMC in Huntington Beach. She writers regularly for Messy Church USA and is one of the writers for the curriculum for the Get Messy! magazine from April 2019-March 2020. You can reach her at Lindseygoodyear@gmail.com.

Lindsey Goodyear

Messy (and Muddy) Easter Blessings!

A blog post by Roberta J. Egli, Executive Director Messy Church USA

iStock photo

When I was a young child, Easter Sunday began before dawn.  My father would wake us up in the dark of night to gather with other members of our church family to hike up a hill to watch the sunrise.  It was a tradition for this community of faith to gather as young and old, huddled in our rain jackets as we sang familiar songs and listened once again to the scripture proclaiming that Jesus the Christ was arisen! 

It was always a muddy trip both up and down the hill in the soggy Pacific Northwest and most of the years; we could only tell that the sun had risen, not from a glorious sunrise but that the clouded skies were getting lighter from the sun that we could not see. I have to admit that the most fun as a young child was to race down the hill to get to the hot chocolate and donuts that awaited us in the farmer’s barn.

I have thought of that all- age experience of a muddy and messy Easter of my childhood as I have seen the wondrous pictures of Easter being celebrated at Messy Churches all over the world.  What a gift you are giving to your Messy Churches as you creatively share the story of the good news of Easter.  Although I have not seen muddy pictures, I have reveled in seeing all of the chaotic mess and joy of people of all ages and backgrounds coming together to share in the love of God made alive through Easter.  

Happy Easter to you all,

Roberta

Pictures from the first ever Messy Church at St James United Methodist Church, Kingston, New York. Congratulations for a great start!

Pictures from the first ever Messy Church at St James United Methodist Church, Kingston, New York. Congratulations for a great start!