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Tag Archive: Easter


I hope everyone had, and is having, a wonderful Easter. Fortunately, the rain held off here until after the third and final service of the morning. The sunrise service at Jaycee Park and the two services in the sanctuary were glorious celebrations of the risen Christ. Our music department at Christ UMC in Farmers Branch, is one of the best around and proved it once again this morning. From Trevor Shaw and Will Nieberding during the sunrise service to the Christ Alive Band, the Children’s Choir, the Celebration Ringers, and the Easter Choir (Celebration Choir and Sunshine Gospel Singers) in the worship services, the music was excellent.

Bob Spencer ruminated on Judas and Peter – the two pivotal figures of Christ’s final days in human form – during his message at the sunrise service. Pastor Kenny Dickson gave an inspirational sermon on Resurrection faith during the two worship services. The United Methodist Men served a delicious pancake breakfast in the gym following the sunrise service.

The rain began immediately after the 11 a.m. service as everyone was going to their cars. A couple of hours later we heard the loudest thunderclap we have heard in quite some time. It seemed to rip the sky apart. It immediately reminded me of the tearing of the “curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple” down the middle as Jesus “breathed his last.” No doubt I felt closer to God for two reasons today. Hallelujah, Christ is risen!

Peace be with you.

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Alyce McKensie, Professor of Homiletics at Perkins Theological Seminary at SMU, published a post before Easter entitled “Have You Got Your Ticket” on Patheos.com. With three teenagers and end of the year school and church activities, I was distracted and only recently re-read the post. The lectionary text that week was the Walk to Emmaus in Luke 24:13-35. “… Easter season is a journey that begins with the empty tomb and the Risen Lord. But for some reason I’ve been thinking about journeys and ways we can remember where were headed and why.”

McKensie recalled the well-known story about Albert Einstein’s train trip when he was on the floor looking for his lost ticket. The conductor told him it was okay, he knew who he was, and trusted him. “It’s not a matter of trust,” said Einstein. “If I don’t find that ticket, I have no idea where I’m going!”

Alyce then wrote about receiving an original ticket to the Wesleyan Class Meeting of the Wesleyan-Methodist Society from 1829. How holding the ticket in her hand led her on a mental spiritual journey back to when James Hart (the name on the ticket) was in fellowship and worship with the society and back to the beginning of the Christian church with the Last Supper and the empty tomb. Read the full post here.

While I was reading her post, my mind went in a slightly different direction (as my mind is wont to do) with the example of the ticket. I do not know what the conductor would have done with the ticket when Einstein found it. But I remember having to get my ticket punched when riding on a train – ostensibly to prove the conductor had validated my ticket. Which led me to consider another kind of ticket.

Part of the problem with the decline of churches today is that many Christians live as though they are mentally getting their ticket punched. Not exactly a good example with which to persuade people to come to, or come back to, church. It’s more about having their eternal ticket punched than faithfulness or discipleship.

Went to Communion Sunday – punch. Went to Wednesday night dinner – punch. Church music programs – punch. Holiday worship services – punch. Christmas services and Easter services – double punches at least. As if the totality of one’s good works can bring entrance to heaven.

If St. Peter at the golden gate were the conductor to eternity, when handed the attendance punch card, he might ask: “Where is your mission punch card, your evangelical punch card, your kindness to strangers punch card?” And so on. If the applicant is using the punch card approach, they are going to fall short of the mark of a good and faithful Christian.

Approached with a true and right spirit, attending church services and events are joyful times of worship and fellowship. Worship and fellowship create an impetus for doing good works, not the other way around. The good works come as acts of faith to, in some small way, return the favor for the Lord’s magnanimous gift of grace. We should want to do good works to further our spiritual journey, not to collect points.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.” Ephesians 2:9,10

Peace be with you.

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