Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Easter or any Story; You Cannot Include Everything

   What a great weekend of worship, as we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I would be remiss to attempt to call out every person who had a hand in making the morning, literally from before the sun rose in the sky, so wonderful. I can say that the music was great in every service including the brass quartet who tooted their horns, the cooks and bakers who brought for the early pilgrims put delicious on display, the volunteers who teach and greet every Sunday are so faithful, and the faces who filled pews and rows were beautiful.
   I am pretty sure I heard one person walk away proclaiming that this weekend's Easter miracle surely must have been that the preacher let us out early in all three services! I am often asked, can you tell any story quickly? But, jokes aside, how do you tell the Easter story briefly?
   Let me ask it another way; how long does it take to tell your own story? Could you tell it in ten minutes? If it were made into a movie, how long would it take? I've shared before that I've served for the past eight years on the Board of Ordained Ministry for the South Georgia Conference. Persons seeking to be ordained as UMC pastors come before the group twice over the course of a number of years. I went before them in 2003 and 2006. Candidates record a sermon, submit dozens of pages of answers to wide-ranging questions of theology, and go through a variety of background checks and testing, totaling around 80-100 pages of paperwork. Would you believ
e one of the most challenging items for candidates to complete is the five-page autobiographical statement? People struggle with what to include and what to leave out. Some would ask, how am I supposed to capture everything in five pages? Of course, the answer is that you cannot include everything; you have to choose. Whether it is a five-page limit, or simply the attention span of your audience, people soon realize that a good story is crafted and shaped.
   I am excited to consider how Jesus explained the story of Easter in the days after the tomb was found empty. The sermon series is titled History 24:27, taking its cue from Luke 24:27 where it says Jesus shared with two disciples heading out of Jerusalem to Emmaus. We can also learn something every week about our own stories.
   Grace and peace, Scott

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