In the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus!

– Easter worship when we were at FPC Brandon

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

John 20:13-16
– Sunday morning with Rebekah

One of my favorite Easter stories took place when Rebekah was pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Brandon (pictured above). I could describe similar scenes both during our time at Trinity Presbyterian in Pensacola or here in Wake Forest with the beautiful saints at WFPC.

It was an Easter Sunday and the second (“traditional”) worship service had just concluded. There was, as always, a “buzz” of electricity and excitement in the air.

I eased my way to an adjacent pew to speak with a family who were visiting for the first time.

“This was wonderful!” the dad said with genuine appreciation. “We could just feel the love and the joy. It was everything: the enthusiasm, the music, the singing, the message, the choir, all the children and the young people!”

Then, the kicker: “If church was like this every Sunday we’d be here every week!”

Before I had a chance to respond – and THIS is why it’s such a great story – two young families from our church turned around and leaned in at the same moment. “Sorry,” one of the men said, “I couldn’t help overhearing what you said. But church IS like this every week!”

“You bet!” one of the others chimed in. “We don’t just pretend for the visitors who come for Easter and Christmas! This is the real deal!”

Amen and Amen and Amen again! I love it when the truth is so obviously focused on the good news and the excitement of a genuine faith journey.

What happened on that first Easter morning two thousand years ago still fills the church with life today because, as Rebekah always says when she has the opportunity to preach, “It’s all about Jesus!”

Thursday evening the choir said pretty much everything that needs to be said when they shared this anthem:

In the morning when I rise,
in the morning when I rise,
in the morning when I rise,
give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus, give me Jesus.
You may have all this world, give me Jesus.

This morning, sweet Lord, it is you who has risen! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you – DEREK

– Easter with our current congregation at HMPC

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