"Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark . . ."
- John 20:1a, NIV
Most of us probably recognize these words describing what it was like when followers of Jesus came to the tomb where his body was buried on the first Easter morning. The story goes on to tell us that the body of Jesus is not there. In John's gospel, the resurrected Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene and calls her by name. It is only then that she recognizes Jesus.
"Early on the first day of the week, when it was still dark . . ." Those words could also describe what it was like when some of us arrived at our Outdoor Chapel to prepare for the 7:00 a.m. Easter Sunrise Service. As I mentioned this past Sunday, it was so dark when I arrived that it wasn't until I was halfway down the walkway to the Outdoor Chapel that I realized someone was already standing a short distance in front of me. I called out, "I guess this is what it was like when they went to the tomb that first Easter." It was only when I heard the voice that I recognized it was Tom Traylor. I felt better knowing who it was.
We were not the only two who gathered for worship in the Outdoor Chapel on Sunday. In fact, it was the largest crowd we have had in eight years! I was excited by all the folks there. I wondered why we had a larger crowd. It could have been the nice weather, but while it was not raining as it had been the day before, it was cold. I wore a sweater under my suit jacket. We had a fire going and more than one person told me how they wanted to linger by the fire. Maybe people came because we celebrated communion for the first time. Maybe it was the music of our GuitArmy! Whatever the reason, we all celebrated the resurrection of Jesus. By the time we had finished, it was no longer dark. I think it was because the Son was shining on us all!
P.S. - Just a reminder - there will be no Wednesday Night Pastor's Bible Study tonight, but we will meet next week. Please pass the word.