Dear South East District Friends,
Happy Easter Monday! When I was serving in the local church, I always loved Holy Week and Easter. It was a lot of hard work but worth every bit of it to share the good news of our Easter story. But, the day after Easter, I sought to do something different. On Easter Monday I always felt like giving myself an Easter gift. It was not a “prize” for having survived Easter and preached a decent sermon. No, it was a true Easter gift, meaning on Easter Monday I wanted to receive what I just preached about the day before but did not have ample time to fully embody because of all the running around required of a preacher on Easter.
Some of my “Easter Monday gifts” over the years included spending the day sewing curtains for my bathroom or rollerblading with my daughter. (Don’t laugh!) I attempted to do things I never found time to do otherwise, and things I knew made my heart sing and required a part of me that pastoring didn’t always require.
You may think that I am good at things like sewing and rollerblading. I am not. But let me share a story with you. I began to sew when a dear parishioner in my first church died and her husband wanted to share with me something that had been special to her. They had been married 63 years and never had children. That sewing machine was the way she gave of herself by making baby blankets for children in the hospital, and sewing items needed by cancer patients in a nearby treatment program. I inherited this old and beautiful sewing machine and was determined to learn to use it. I did, and have made a few things over the years: pillows, curtains, clothes for dolls, baby blankets, tablecloths. I have always been proud of what I have made although the items are nothing to brag about. I simply have felt the Spirit of God challenging me to sew – knowing it requires parts of me that are often not used when writing a sermon or administering the life of a church. That is Easter.
In worship yesterday, on Easter Sunday, I imagine you heard (or preached!) a call to do something different. I imagine you heard the message of Easter – a message to clear the slate before you and start from scratch. Easter is a time to celebrate that God can do anything with your life, not only what you feel you are trained for or what others expect from you. On Easter Monday the gift I most want you to give yourself is the gift of doing something new, and something that makes your heart sing. You don’t have to do it well. You simply must enjoy it from that very deep place in your soul where God has spoken to you, “The tomb is empty. Good news rules the day.” Did you hear that good news on Easter? Alleluia!
Grace and peace,
The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church
450 Martin L King Jr Ave
Lakeland, FL 33815
(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011