And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here…” – Mark 16
Generally, I’m not an Easter Sunrise person. I understand how meaningful such worship experiences can be, and I get the whole “light breaking into the world” idea, but I’ve only attended a handful over my lifetime.
Then this year my friends Tim and Dan were asked to lead the music; could I join in and play guitar too?
Of course, I did (even though my fingers had no feeling) and I have to say that gathering for worship outside as the sun came up, out there by the church rose garden, was an amazing way to begin Easter Sunday.
Gorgeous Spring Weekend!
The entire weekend was a spectacular testimony to springtime in North Carolina, and simply being alive in this beautiful place is like a worship experience every day. But by coming to church, and gathering as a community to worship and praise, we are encouraging each other to allow the resurrection to literally change who we are and the way we live. That is what made yesterday so powerful.
“Let the resurrection literally change who we are and the way we live…”
Sunrise 2018 was cold but almost every chair filled and the first rays of light illuminated the church garden with more than light, it was authentic life.
Worship was followed by breakfast together as the crowd started to gather for contemporary worship in the CLC.
I am always impressed by Rebekah’s preaching. But Sunday, coming back from a devastating two weeks down with the flu, I felt the Spirit speak through her with such strength and passion, and it was a message that must have lodged somewhere in the hearts and minds of the literally hundreds of people who don’t usually show up at church, and who stand maybe on the periphery of commitment, not completely sure why they are there or what they would do if they let Jesus get a toehold in their lives.
(click here for a video of 9:00 worship)
I think it’s the passion and the belief that make Rebekah’s preaching work. She connects directly with just about everyone in the room and it’s impossible to approach worship as a spectator once that happens.
By the time 11:15 rolled around worship had moved from the garden to the gym and finally the sanctuary. The combination of all the elements – resurrection, crowds, excitement, celebration, choir, praise team, bells, instruments of all sorts, passion, belief, anticipation, joy – all these worked together to make worship electrifying.
(click here for Traditional Worship video)
It’s About Life!
So here is my point, this quiet Monday morning after a weekend resounding with life. My point is that this is what worship looks like every Sunday! It’s not just Easter and Christmas, it’s New Life that is constantly multiplying! New life is something that comes up with the sun every day and that is what we gather to celebrate with our church every weekend!
The interesting thing to me is that Rebekah managed to finish strong through every worship experience. It certainly wasn’t her – she was wasted by the flu and won’t be strong for another week at least – it was the message!
It wasn’t that God miraculously healed her from the effects of the flu… but that God sustained her. Do you catch the difference? If that distinction doesn’t make sense, then all I can do is recommend that you come to church.
You see, the day after Easter Sunday is what I like to call “The first day of the second week of creation…” and it is loaded with promise and possibility. But I’ll talk more about that in another post.
Peace, and life, and light, and more – DEREK
photos in order: Sunrise, Contemporary, Traditional
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.