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Post Easter Question…

May 3, 2014

Easter has come and gone.  The Easter sermon addressed the question of fear – the fear of the resurrection and how it impacted the guards, the women and the disciples.  So too I asked the question of what fears we ourselves have in reaction to the resurrection.  What keeps us from sharing the good news?  Do we fear being labeled a “Religious Fanatic?”  “Ignorant?” “Naïve?” A “Bigot?”

And so now, as we move into the Post Easter Season, I find myself wondering “what we will do with the Good News?”  We had a wonderful crowd on Easter Sunday.  Many came whom we haven’t seen in some time?  I find myself wondering whether or not they felt welcome enough to come back?  And what about those who are recently arrived, the newcomers?  Will they be encouraged to find a home at First Presbyterian?

Statistics tell us that the invitations of Pastors generally fall on deaf ears but the invitation of a member of a congregation who is happy in their spiritual life and comfortable in their membership has a far greater rate of success in their invitations to worship.  Our Elder Board is taking this matter seriously.  They will be looking at our directory list and asking the question, “who haven’t we seen in a while” and “how might we reach out to them in an encouraging way to invite them to come back home?”

Statistics also reveal that up to 75% of Tioga County have likely never been to church.  Is there a way for us to reach out to our non-churched neighbors to share the Good News, not just in simple matters of shoveling their snow or talking on the phone, but in and invitational manner to become a part of something bigger than ourselves.

Some of those who have been attending worship with us lately have reported they saw our new webpage (www.fpcwellboro.org) and felt this was the kind of place for which they were looking.  Others came in direct response to an invitation from someone in town that they met.  Most came looking specifically for a traditional form of worship that is contemporary and informal enough to be comfortable and yet sufficiently ordered to be “safe” and meaningful.

To be sure, the bodily resurrection of our Lord is a whopper of a story.  It’s unbelievable.  It’s disturbing in its implications.  It defies understanding.  And that is exactly the point.  That which seems to be impossible is possible.  So what will we do?  Will we tremble and become as dead men (or women)?  Will we be fearful and yet filled with joy running to tell of our own encounters with the risen Lord?  Will we doubt, like Thomas yet seek to see Jesus and when we encounter him, give, like most all of the disciples, our very lives in service to Him, sharing the Good News with all?  Or will we, like so many others, simply deny what God has done?

The ball is in our court, each of us, individually.  What will you do with the Good News?

 

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