Dear Risen Lord disciples:
Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
It was dark, cold, and eerily empty – the Dundale Drive-In Theater, that is, near my childhood home of Carpentersville, IL. But early on every Easter morning, the men of Faith Lutheran Church (yes, in those days it was all men) would gather in the darkness (and one memorable year a blinding snowstorm) to transform the roof of the snack bar into a chancel complete with a pulpit, usher arriving cars down the rows of speaker poles, and hand out bulletins into rolled-down windows of sleepy families who had come for Faith’s Easter Sunrise Service.
That call-and-response Easter morning greeting is what I remember most, trudging in the darkness after my dad who was always among the group of ushers and rooftop craftsmen. They spoke it joyfully, often emotionally, to each other, to the pastor, to Erv Schreiber’s little boy, and to every car of worshipers, even the visitors not familiar with this strange greeting.
I still call my dad early on Easter morning with this greeting, even though for the second year in a row we missed being able to be together in worship. I know that many of you, too, missed being together in worship on Easter morning – but that’s changing soon!! As you know by now, Risen Lord will resume in-person worship with safety precautions this Sunday!
And here’s the thing: there’s no need to feel disappointment that it couldn’t be in time for Easter Sunday. The world may think the “Easter holiday” is past, but for disciples of the Risen Lord, Easter is a SEASON, a “week of Sundays” where we continue to proclaim and celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death!
I’m not sure what Risen Lord’s tradition has been with the Easter season, but in all the churches I served (in part because of the example of those faithful men years ago), I insisted that the Easter greeting be our parish greeting for the SEASON of Easter – not just liturgically in worship, but in the narthex, in the parking lot, with friends, family and guests.
Especially this coming Sunday when we gather together again after so long apart, would you remind yourself and each other about the true center of our lives by greeting each other this way? And like years ago, I imagine those voices will be tinged with joy and not a little emotion…
Allleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
A joyful Eastertide to you, people of Risen Lord. Be well, friends. You are loved.
Pastor Dave Schreiber