- May 5 – Worship Gathering (6:45pm @ Faith Community Church 3450 CR210, 32259)
- May 19 – Dinner Together (6:00pm. Place TBD)
- June 4 – Worship Gathering
- June 23 – Dinner Together
Today is Easter Sunday, 2019.
I love Easter Weekend. Many churches are very busy over Holy Week. Traditions vary, but many churches hold services Thursday night (Maundy Thursday), Friday night (Tenebrae), and of course Easter Sunrise services and Easter Sunday services. Because we have a value for blessing churches and with our focus on missional living, we encourage one another to invite friends and neighbors to a worship service somewhere, or to do something missional, (or if needed, just rest.) We do hold a gathering at sunrise on Good Friday. As far as I know, we’ve got that time slot pretty much to ourselves.
This year, Heather and I did something missional in our neighborhood with our family on Easter morning. Also, I want to offer a few photos provided by Bob Davenport from our Good Friday Gathering. First, Easter…
Easter: Recently, Heather and I have begun being more intentional about living missionally in our neighborhood. The goal is simple. We want to see our neighborhood become more like heaven. Period. So as part of that mission, we decided to host an Easter breakfast and have a short family-friendly worship service in our home. To prepare Heather and I prayed for our neighbors – specifically for open doors. Then we walked around and knocked on doors, handing out an invitation saying, “if you don’t have plans for Easter, we’d love to have with us.”
It was great to connect with neighbors that way. Most doors did open. We caught up with some neighbors we’d not seen in a while, met one for the first time, and of course, some doors didn’t open. Once the invitations were out, I didn’t know if anyone would come or not. That’s the hard part for me. Sometimes, ministry feels like the ongoing experience of inviting people to a party and wondering if they will come.
Well, we asked for RSVPs to get an idea ahead of time. And here I sit on Easter afternoon, after a delightful morning with three families from our neighborhood. Two families we knew well and a third family we are just getting to know. And they brought extended family. So thank you, Lord! The food was great. The conversation lively. We had young kids in our house! We sang Amazing Grace. I shared the Easter Story from the Rhyme Bible (fun!) and then talked about shalom, God’s plan, and the importance of the resurrection (Which frankly, I don’t think I did well, but the Spirit was present.)
Then the younger kids went out to find the hidden Easter Eggs in joy.
And here’s the thing. I think our neighborhood is a little more like heaven as a result. I know some people and know a little better how to pray for them. I really love our neighbors, especially the ones who joined us today.
Reflecting Good Friday Morning: Every Good Friday since 2009, a group of us have gathered at Mickler’s Landing to worship, to remember what Jesus has done for us, and prepare our hearts for Easter. This tradition pre-dates LoveFirst Coast, but the core of this group is still the same. Kent and Kris Wehmeier came up with the idea way back when, and what we do is simple. We bring food for breakfast. We sing. And I offer a brief message inviting us to prepare our hearts for Easter. Good Friday, of course, is the day Jesus was tried, condemned, rejected by his people, and crucified.
Personally, my week had put me in a gloomy Good Friday mood. Death and unanswered prayer came near this week. People who had been making progress stumbled and suffered setbacks. Then, through ministry, work, and friendship, I was a part of the story of five people passing away – this week.
Disappointment was real, and death seemed to be coming close, looming large. As one story after another came near, things seemed to grow a little darker. I was okay, but hope started feeling like wishful thinking. Joy seemed to be leaking away. I felt myself growing numb. It felt like Good Friday. I could relate a little to well to the phrase put together by S.M. Lockridge. “It’s Friday. Hope is lost. Death has won. Sin has conquered. and Satan’s just laughing.”
But you can’t forget the next line… “It was Friday. But Sunday’s comin!” Thinking about his words, I was reminded of the hope that is found in the resurrection of Jesus Christ! And at sunrise on Good Friday, I got to share that news with good friends at the beach. We were not expecting to see the sunrise that morning – but the sky grew bright and then the sun broke through the clouds on the word, “Alleluia!”
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” “Thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!”
May your seasons that connect to Good Friday be marked by the hope that Sunday is indeed Coming! May your life be characterized by the hope we celebrate every Easter!
At our gathering, we met “Bucket Bob” Davenport. He has a great appreciation for the beauty of Mickler’s Landing and works to keep it free of trash for others to enjoy. He noticed our worship gathering and took these pictures. Thanks the photos, Bob. Your gift will help us remember a beautiful morning. And thanks for loving the First Coast!
Photos by Bob Davenport