This Sunday is Palm Sunday, followed by Passion Week, Good Friday and Easter Morning. This is the part of the year that rotates the 300mm camera lens of the church calendar into sharp focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ.
People who know more than I do about photography say that the area of highest contrast in a photo, is the object that your eye is naturally drawn toward. And every year in the church calendar, in the juxtaposition of Good Friday and Easter morning, we find the exposure of highest contrast in all of redemptive history. On the same weekend stand death and life. Light and darkness. Defeat and triumph. Doubt and faith.
It seems that God wants to draw our attention to this particular point of history. He wants us understand both the love, and power of the Messiah. He wants us to know the weight of our sin, and the hope of His promise. He wants us to know both the hard, and the happy, of life with God.
One prominent evangelical pastor said that most churches can fall into either the 'come and see' category, or the 'come and die' category. The Come and See church is a church that puts on a great, feel-good show, that emphasizes the way God meets all our needs. The Come and Die church emphasizes the cost of following Jesus, and the challenges of being a Christian in today's culture. It seemed that Jesus drew people to Himself with amazing 'come and see' miracles and teachings, and then He brought people into a process that moved them toward a 'come and die' commitment.
This Passion Week, we are invited to come and see what God has done. See how Christ has died, and Christ is risen. And then we are invited into a life of discipleship, so full of love, that we become those that are willing to give everything for the sake of Jesus. And as I reflect on the powerful transition that God is inviting us into as a church, I see many similarities. This new season has many 'come and see' elements. Our new worship space (St. Andrew's at 111 Kellog St. Elsinore) will allow us to express the fullness of our worship tradition in a way we have never been able to enjoy. The music, the liturgy, and the sacrament will come alive in this space. And the space designated for our kids and for fellowship is very attractive. But the opportunity that God is leading us into also requires a degree of spiritual maturity. We have to be willing to lay down some of our scheduling preferences. Worshiping on Saturdays at 5pm is a big change for many of us. And it will mean that we will need to be taking the Gospel out into our communities, rather than people looking for us. There is some contrast for us here. This opportunity is both better, and more challenging. It seems that God is getting our attention with both 'come and see,' and 'come and die,' right next to each other. At least we can rest assured, this is consistent with ways He has worked before.
Author: Cameron Lemons
Reflections from the pastor