From Mark Hricko, Senior Pastor …
After a beautiful Resurrection Day, on Easter Monday there were storms up and down the east coast. In the aftermath of one of them, my friend Barry posted this picture of a newly blooming red lily in his back yard along with the caption “Look who the storm woke up!”
While the picture is very pretty and quite appropriate for the first week of Easter, Barry’s words once again got me thinking. What kinds of things will the viral storm that’s moving across our nation wake up in me?
As I thought about it, I could already list things like my individual devotional relationship with God since my corporate relationship with God, which is to say with my church family, has been substantially interrupted, at least physically. Not that I’d lost it, but at the same time it also woke up my love for those I serve and with whom I serve, and for our life and worship together as absence makes this heart grow fonder. It was painful to stop at St. Andrew on Holy Saturday and find the church empty of rehearsing musicians, decorators, extra chairs in the sanctuary, and children running around.
Then there’s my renewed appreciation for all the people and things I usually take for granted, like a trip to the store, a walk in the neighborhood, a handshake or a hug as a sign of hello or goodbye, even the air I breathe. There are nurses and doctors, cashiers, custodians, police and other first responders who serve at personal risk and cannot simply close the doors and wait for the storm to pass. There are leaders throughout the land who’ve been wise and sometimes foolish, but have life altering decisions to make. None of this can be taken for granted now.
I wonder what the storm will wake up in you. Needless to say, I hope it’s something beautiful like my friend Barry’s backyard lily. Maybe it’s a new blossoming of faith, a new hunger for a relationship with a church family that’s so close that you can’t help but miss it when we’re not together, or a new appreciation for all the people, relationships, and things you’ve been taking for granted as I have, so that you can see all of them as signs of God’s beautiful living presence and provision.
In the aftermath of Easter Sunday, the Gospels go on to speak of people who sheltered in place behind closed doors, locked up in fear because of a great storm that came into their lives. But everything changed when the Risen Christ came through and greeted them with the words “peace be with you,” eliminating the distance and turning them into beautiful people of blossoming life who would go out and turn the world upside down!
For a while we need to shelter in place. But we don’t need to be afraid, at least not spiritually, because He is our Shelter! And one of these days when the storm has passed, we’ll be together again, this time with new insights into the presence and power of the Risen Christ and with renewed love for the church family He’s made of us. And when we are, my hope and prayer is that even more of our neighbors and friends will look at us, experience the power of Easter, be drawn to God’s family, and say “Look who the storm woke up!”