Easter is the Super Bowl for those of us in full-time church ministry. It's one of the prime weekends of the year that unchurched people are likely to attend if invited.
We pour lots of focus, time, energy, money, creativity, prayer, fasting, conversations, preparations, etc...into Easter. No one on staff takes time off during Easter season. We're all in for this "crunch time".
Except our family, this Easter.
A week ago last Thursday-Sunday, we were in Des Moines with Eric's parents, to celebrate his dad's retirement. We got to be part of the church service, and all the family were in town...all 14 kids, kids-in-law, and grandkids. It was super fun, except for the part where we drove through a snowstorm to get home on Sunday evening.
Tuesday we got the call that Eric's grandmother Leona (who had turned 95 the Saturday we were in Des Moines), was probably nearing the end of her life on earth. She has been one of my grandmas for 21 years.
Wednesday (because Eric needed to teach Wednesday and Thursday nights), I went down alone and met his parents in Mason City, as Grandma was moved to hospice. I had the privilege of being with them as she passed on to Heaven last Thursday. After making funeral plans on Friday, I came home and did the weekend at The Crossing.
As soon as church was over Sunday, we headed down for an unexpected re-gathering of the family for a viewing on Monday and the services yesterday. Eric's dad did the funeral, and Eric did the graveside. His sister Kristin and I sang an old hymn, and our boys got to be pallbearers. We returned home last night. We're drained, and it's not even Easter yet! What the heck?! What was God up to?
I'm not sure...but today I'm thankful for a few things:
One - that I married into an awesome, Jesus-loving family. We're quirky, but we're not crazy. And we enjoy being together. Mom & Dad, 3 kids, their spouses, and 8 grandkids...aunt & uncle, Grandpa.
Two - All the wonderful Crossing staff and volunteers who carry out the mission of The Crossing whether or not we're here. They are keepers of the vision, lovers of the unchurched, value-ers of excellence, and absolutely passionate worshippers of Jesus.
Three - Something special to celebrate this Easter. Of course, we celebrate the fact that Jesus rose from the dead. BUT for our family this Easter, we celebrate in a very practical sense. Because Jesus rose, we know that so did Grandma. His death and resurrection means that her death on earth resulted in a resurrection of her spirit to Heaven. She trusted Jesus. He took her to Heaven.
Death does not win.
It's a happy hypothetical until shiz gets real.
Who will you tell about Jesus this Easter?
One day you might attend their funeral, and you don't want to regret a missed opportunity.
You might have something special to celebrate this Easter too: the moment your loved one chose Jesus and life.
See you soon! Services start tomorrow night in St. Cloud! Times/Locations at freegrace.tv.