Dear friends and members of St. Matt's,
Happy Easter! Yes, it's still Easter! There are 50 days in this season for us to celebrate Jesus' victory of life over death. And we should celebrate that victory - especially now. I hope that for the next 47 days you'll do something each day to remind yourself of this gift, of the goodness of God, of the promise of eternal life. Do something every day that brings you joy, that gets you moving, that connects you to people you love, that reminds you of all the blessings of this life. And let the joy that brings you be part of your prayer and spiritual life in this season.
Speaking of joy, wasn't it a joyful celebration we had on Easter morning? Joyful and glorious. I'm so grateful for the many hands that made our worship so lovely. We celebrated the feast of the Lord's resurrection with harp and trumpet, with choir and song, with prayer and praise, and with the gifts of many people - including some family cameos! - that made our worship more full. It was so comforting to see those faces, to hear those voices, to sing along to Jesus Christ is risen today! and hear the stirring, brassy sound of a joyful trumpet. I hope that all those pieces were also a comfort and an encouragement to you. All of our past broadcasts are available here in case you miss one or would like to revisit one.
After worship, the celebration continued. Very safely, we gathered at church to drive around the parking lot, pop out of sunroofs (at an appropriate distance) and honk our horns. You decorated your cars and the Easter Bunny came to cheer us, too. I've been told that I wasn't the only one with tears in my eyes. And then a merry band of us went driving around town to visit the homes of a few of our members. That merry band brought joy to everyone we passed along the way - every family out in their yard, every person out for a walk, everyone wanted to know who we were and where we were going. And everyone started to smile and wave. The flowering cross led the way and was followed by a big speaker and a great playlist. I'm grateful to the small group of folks who responded last week to this crazy idea and helped to make the day so festive - and I'm grateful for the way that this community always goes all in. That small window of time we were able to share together safely was a perfect snapshot of the deep connections, strong love, and palpable joy of this community. If you missed it, take a look at a video that Lyn made with some of the pictures from the day.
Underneath all that joy was a tremendous amount of work. Translating our whole life into an online setting, everything from worship, to youth group, to choir, to pastoral care has not been without its challenges. And I'm particularly proud of the way we have risen to meet those challenges and to surpass them. Along with their normal work, every member of the staff had extra projects to make this all come together. Scott offered special musical programs on top of an already rigorous worship schedule. Samantha made a series of videos (which you can check out on our YouTube Channel if you missed them). And after I recreated all of our services, so that they'd work on a screen, Nancy had to edit countless bulletins. We also needed support from our lay leaders and couldn't have had so full a week without their help. Lectors and Choir members jostled their schedules around to accommodate our rehearsal and recording times, and they were coordinated, streamed, and recorded by a couple of dedicated people behind the scenes who did a lot of work. The Mission Team has continued to support our partners as well as offering meals and treats to local hospital staffs and healthcare workers. Our life together is rich and full of Easter hope, and I'm tremendously grateful for the faithfulness of the staff and the generosity of so many lay leaders. And there's more to come in the weeks ahead - don't miss the news about trivia night!
Thank you all for the ways you continue to pull together, to support each other and St. Matt's. Thank you for the joy we shared on Sunday and for the generosity of spirit you show everyone around us. Thank you for building home altars and sending us pictures. Please don't hesitate to be in touch if you need anything. Take a look through our newsletter today to see what's happening this week - even though it's not Holy Week anymore, we still have lots of ways to connect! May the joy of this Easter life be yours this day and all throughout this season of light.