Sunday, April 12, 2009

Resurrection Weekend

The JW were in our neighborhood inviting neighbors to celebrate the death of Jesus with them. We declined in preference of celebrating the birth, death and resurrection of Christ. For the JW there must have been a very big push this year as several others mentioned that they had received the same invitation to celebrate the death of Jesus. I decided that this year we would celebrate in a different fashion. For the first time, we did not do Easter Baskets for the grandkids. I did not dye eggs and offered no Easter Egg hunts.
I decided that was another persons's job. (I've been told by Pops for years that I tend to go overboard.) Well, it does not mean I won't do Eggs or Baskets or family dinners next year or future years, it is just I did not do it this year.
The Tulsa area is rich in Easter celebrations, so Ken and I put our energy into visiting three of those events. It was good for both of us. I've been thinking about the experience all day today and I think I will write a blog just on that experience alone later on. For now, I'll just mention that we went to our COTM service on Good Friday evening. We sat with April and Dave and afterwards, met up with them and Kevin's family at Fuddruckers for dinner together. Ken and I had the Buffalo Burgers. I do believe all of us were very full when we left. Saturday was a beautiful day. I worked up until time to go to our second Resurrection celebration in which we visited a neighborhood church near our home. This morning we went to Ken's happy place .... and I went with him. Today is raining and we are enjoying a quiet afternoon by the fire. There are steaks to grill later on. See what I mean. No traditional ham, no deviled eggs. Just rain outside and warmth inside. It is a good day! We've talked with Joel and Jennifer to learn Joel was preaching twice this morning and Jennifer seems to be having that baby sooner than thought -- within two weeks. And Sommer and Dan were having a quiet day at home this morning. Ava and Carson had opened their Easter Baskets and their day is sunny. Their church was having their Easter service tonight. Praise God that all our children are celebrating the resurrection of our Lord today!


  1. Thoughts and observations regarding Resurrection times Three

    This week Ken and I attended three different Churches to celebrate the Life of Christ. It was a most interesting experience.
    We started on Good Friday by attending COTM, our church for some 20 years. It was marvelous! Worship, music, preaching, teaching and the best part of all for me, was the final testimonies during the song, “I’ve been set free.” Those testimonies touch me every time …. Real live people telling from what God has delivered them. It was an up-to-day validation of His love and power.
    Then Saturday evening we attended The Assembly, which is in our neighborhood. It is the new rendition of the original First Assembly of God Church in which Bonnie and Jim were married 52 years ago. We had heard there was a new pastor and things were looking up for the church so we visited because it was near us. I think the service exceeded our expectations, the music was fabulous and the preaching was excellent. We were glad we visited.
    Then Sunday morning, we attended the 9:15 Easter Celebration at Asbury Methodist. This is the church I call ‘Ken’s Happy Place.’ He loves Asbury and everything about it. It is from Pastor Harrison’s daily Bible study books (which go along with the sermon every week) that Ken has learned to love and appreciate his daily Bible study on a newer and higher level. He can hardly wait to get up and study every morning and then get to Asbury on Sunday, to hear what will be said about what he has studied. It has been marvelous to watch him enjoy this relationship. It was this morning during the service, watching Ken beam that I began to ponder the three different experiences and our reactions to them.
    First, some personal background: At COTM, as the name implies, conditions, surroundings, rules are constantly moving. And we have moved with them for these many years. The biggest move for me was that for the first time in perhaps 50 or 60 years, I am going to church to sit rather than work. So many years of Sunday school teaching, children’s worker, ministry of helps assistant and sign language interpreter, and my contribution is solely my money and my worship. That’s not a bad thing, it is good for me. But good things can sometimes be difficult to assess, and work through. I’ve had to learn how to attend and sit.
    Because of its size and personality, COTM has always been the kind of church you could hide in, receive from God and leave without anyone knowing who you are. And that is exactly what some people want. It fits my personality. It is the adjusting to not serving, that has made this my learning year.
    So there we were, sitting in the service Friday night, way at the back in the dark. The décor was that of special lighting effects. The dress was casual, jeans and loose hanging shirts. The production was that of loud music, performance, drama, entertainment and worship unto the Lord. The sermon was perfect. Pastor George vividly described the excruciating pain Christ endured. He said the key to real relationship with God is the acceptance of personal responsibility. That the cross is for now because it continues to transform our life. The ending exceeded perfection: many raised their hands for salvation. They were invited to meet an associate pastor and spend 10 minutes in a prayer room for further assistance.
    At the Assembly, the decor had some resemblances to our home church in architect and style. The greeters were at the door with friendly
    smiles and handshakes. The Assembly does not normally have a Saturday evening service so I am not sure how the crowd ratio compares to Sunday, but there were a lot more white hairs and empty seats. The dress was more formal, consisted of business suits, ties and ladies in spring colors. The music was loud, yet less loud, and the production included a large portion of the church body in the large choir and band. The stage was adorned with color and Easter Lilies for the occasion. There was also a media presentation. It was an inviting presence and we liked the new pastor. He used film clips of the Tacoma Bridge built in 1940 that rocked and reeled with the wind and after four months collapsed into a useless pile. He compared that to our lives when we have not built our lives on God’s Word. Then he showed a picture of the new bridge which was serviceable to many years which is what we need to be. There was a call for salvation and offer to visit the pastor at the front.
    At Asbury, we were attending the contemporary service. The decor at Asbury is more impressive, elegant with a large organ, golden pipes and stained glass. Today there were also lots of lilies. Often the ministers are adorned in robes and candles are lit. But for this contemporary service, the minister explained to those who do did not know that this service did not require tie or robe. Usually this service does not have a choir but today the choir was in the background and sang with one song. At 9:15, most of the music is with drums, and guitars and a few young praise and worship leaders. After the past two services, the music was not as spectacular but it was contemporary worship music. There were a couple marvelous media presentations and the sermon was great. Pastor told the story of young Stanley who to get home on time avoided the detour and went through the barricade on what seemed to be a safe new road. When he raced past a parked car with teenage spooners he noticed the teenager raced passed him down the road ahead, got out and waved for Kennedy to stop. He did to be warned that the bridge was out and he would be flying into nothingness. The theme of course was to heed the warning signs and detours in order to survive. Again there was a call to surrender your life to Christ and an offer to speak with pastors any time if you wished. It was a warm invitation.
    So that is the background for my review. All three churches honored the risen Lord. All three churches gave attention to those who may not normally attend church and gave an offer to confess their belief that Jesus is the Son of God and start a new life. All three had special effects and decor for Easter of some sort. The first service being the largest church, had the professional production touch while the other two had production, they added a warmth and invitation to community and fellowship.

  2. This was amazing, wow!

    Thank you!

    Also, the only JW I know is Leah. Jim has a JW friend at work. They know their stuff, but I do not understanding it. Why celebrate the death? Why refuse birthdays? I cannot even process the cultural pieces, much less understand the other pieces. Wow.

    What a great review of different services! Great descriptions of all of them, from the experience to the different focuses and approaches to the cultural pieces of what people can wear or not. Fantabulous, lady!