Have you been to Texas? They’re pretty proud that “Everything is big in Texas.” You can tell by looking at their huge capitol building with framed portraits of their long line of distinguished governors climbing several stories up the walls of the rotunda. It’s pretty clear they like big there.I’m not a fan of big.
Which is why at Floris,which can be quite big, I tend to seek out the small. Small groups, small conversations, small services. I don’t like crowds. Don’t like to search for parking or for a seat in the sanctuary.That’s why I go to the Easter Sunrise service.
Amazingly, there is always a collection of hardy folks who do the same. Adults, kids, even teens shiver in the cool of the morning as the birds sing along with the bell prelude. In the dim light westrain to make out the words of the call to worship in the bulletin. This year I came prepared and punched the flashlight app on my cell phone. Suddenly we were a small group gathering in its light to sing Christ the Lord is Risen Today. Acapella. We let Yoon hit all the high notes.
Barbara and Tom welcomed us to Easter morning. I am grateful to Barbara who invited us into the story of Easter with a bit of humor from a children’s sermon she had heard about. The children were asked, ‘What were Jesus’ first words to the disciples after He was raised from the dead?’ A little girl waved her hand, “I know,” she said, “Ta da!”
We laughed. Then we sang. We praised. We proclaimed Christ risen, indeed. Then weheaded to our cars and our homes, to hide eggs, cook meals, waken kids to attend the “big” Easter service.But before I could go I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was an old friend and hisdaughterwho don’t normally attend Floris. They had come just for the sunrise service. He pointed over my shoulder. “The sun hasn’t even risen yet.” And so it hadn’t.
Who goes to the sunrise service and doesn’t wait to see the sun rise?
The parking lot had emptied but this father and daughter stood together and watched as the sun rose over the townhouses in the distance. The cragged, leafless tree greets it every morning. No applause. No fanfare. Not even a “ta da!”
Feeling a bit sheepish I looked again at the Easter scripture from Mark’s gospel. “Very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.”(Mark 16:2) The women had waited for the sun to rise before they went to the tomb and that made all the difference. Because by the light of the Son everything looks different.