In two short weeks Easter lilies will fill the worship spaces on both campuses, their trumpet-shaped flowers urging us to capitalize on the annual opportunity to proclaim to the oft and seldom seen alike the bedrock of Christian faith: Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Don't we do that every week? Yes, but alas to a much smaller crowd: last year our average weekend worship attendance in four services was 1050; our Easter attendance was 2121 in five services! Now some might bemoan the fact that Easter lilies come in two varieties (Lilium Longiflorum and homo sapien) but not me - I rejoice. You see, I've come to realize that, unlike the former, it often takes years of nurturing seeds planted during our Easter services before the flowers appear; indeed I attribute a portion of our ongoing growth to more and more of latter reappearing (and bringing friends) . . . and for that we can say, "Thanks be to God!" By God's grace we are a great and growing Church and thus it's also by God's grace that we have a wonderful challenge before us this Easter weekend.
Easter Sunday at 10:00am is our most heavily attended service every year; it reached capacity last year when we absolutely couldn't squeeze another folding chair into the historic space. Since last Easter average attendance in that service alone has increased by over sixty - the writing on the wall tells me that, if we're really serious about reaching as many as possible with the Easter Good News on April 20th, we're going to have to inconvenience ourselves to make it possible. To that end I'm asking the spiritually mature and servant minded among us who normally attend the Sunday 10:00am service to attend the 5:28pm Saturday service (or if that's too much of a stretch, the 8:00am Sunday service); the Saturday service will be exactly like the two Sunday services that weekend (brass, organ, vestments, liturgy, etc.). Similarly, I'm asking those who normally attend the Saturday Gracetime service to sacrifice their preference for an informal Communion service by participating in a Festival Eucharist on April 19th.
I suspect some few might consider this request a bit unreasonable; if you're among them, please prayerfully reflect on the truth that Jesus sacrificed Himself on the Cross so that we might have life and that He said to all of us, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it." (Mark 8:34-35) In this and all things, never doubt God's love for you or mine.
In His service and for His glory,