So What Now?

So now what? We just celebrated the foundational event of the Christian faith; the highest, holiest day on the Church calendar; the unofficial annual "Day of Chocolate," and now what? We spent six weeks preparing and planning for the day, and now that Easter has come and gone, what's next? If you are a church-goer, you might be planning to take a few weeks off - after all, you probably went to church a few extra times during the season. If you aren't a church-goer but celebrate the day with candy, new clothes, family gatherings, and egg hunts, you might be wondering this week why you spent so much money on a single-day celebration! For faithful followers of Jesus, the question, "So now what?" is significant. It can't be that the big worship experience is all there is to the day. Surely the Resurrection carries meaning and impact beyond Easter Sunday! And indeed, it does. We have been witness to something amazing, and we have a story to tell! So now what? Now we go, give, serve, and love because we have witnessed the greatest story of giving, serving, and loving. Worship Link:

Easter Sunday, Upside-Down

The core of Jesus' teaching as found in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) teaches that to be a follower of his is to live in ways that are often over and against the ways of the culture around them. So much so that life with Jesus has sometimes been called "upside down." The story of Jesus’ death and resurrection is the ultimate upside-down story. When it seems that all is gone – Jesus is dead, love has lost, hope is extinguished – God turns the grave itself upside down and raises Jesus from death to life! And what’s more, the power that up-ended Jesus’ death and returned him to life is that same power available for the dead parts of our lives. God wants nothing more than to enter our lives and turn our failures, heartaches, hurts, and little deaths upside down – bringing new life into every area of our existence. In the Upside Down Kingdom of God, death never has the final word. In the Upside Down Kingdom of God, new life is always on the other side of defeat. Worship Link:

It is the tradition of the Church during the week between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday to remember Jesus' sacrifice in crucifixion. This year at Union Chapel Indy we remember this dark time with a Tenebrae Service. "Tenebrae" is the Latin word meaning "darkness." In the sanctuary we will recall Jesus' final hours with the observance of Holy Communion (in the Methodist tradition, everyone is welcome to participate), and the biblical story of Jesus' last hours. As we tell the story we will extinguish candles, darken the sanctuary, and drape the platform in black... all symbols of the human death Jesus suffered. Worship concludes in total darkness and with a loud sound (called strepitus in Latin) to represent the closing of Jesus' tomb - and convey the sense of the total loss of God's presence and the effect of the death of Jesus on all of creation. Worshipers are invited to then leave in silence to ponder the impact of Christ's death and await the celebration of the coming Resurrection. Worship Link:

Easter Sunday:

Easter Sunday It’s been a long year... In addition to a global pandemic that has spanned the entirety of the last 12 months +, we’ve struggled through a long season of social unrest and we’ve endured an especially contentious election cycle. Add to that the personal challenges, which for some of us, have been many - job loss, financial hardship, illness, death, moves, loneliness and isolation, profound uncertainty, and more. We find ourselves at yet another Easter, wanting to celebrate and believe what we say today, but is new life really possible? Does Easter really matter? Can it really make a difference... and make a difference for me? Everything changed on that first Easter morning. Everything changed for the women who discovered the empty tomb, for Jesus’ followers, for the world - - and for you. Can you see it? Will you see it? The women returned to the tomb to continue grieving and to anoint the dead body of Jesus. They found the stone rolled away from the entrance of the tomb and they searched inside for the body. But instead of the dead remains of the previous days, they received encouragement to look elsewhere. They would not find what they needed - and what this day promised - among the dead, in the past. Neither will we find what we need by sifting through yesterday’s remains. It’s a new day, and it’s time for us to seek a new life among the living. Today we choose to look towards a new tomorrow - today we choose the Living Jesus. Happy Easter! Worship link:

Listening for My Name

Easter service. "An uncertain and troubled time... just like today."