But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. – Matthew 28:5-8
When was the last time you heard such exciting news that you took off running? In our day and age we’re far more likely to call someone, send out an email, post something on Facebook or send out a Tweet when we receive good news than we are to break into a run. But in the first century, the quickest way Mary Magdalene and the other Mary had to spread the exciting news of Jesus’ resurrection was to run and tell.
As much as I use the telephone, emails, texting and Facebook to convey news, there is still something to be said about the value of a face to face encounter. Beyond skyping, the only way to capture someone’s facial expressions is through a personal encounter. Imagine the two Mary’s returning to the disciples, out of breath, their faces are filled with excitement. Can you imagine the two of them trying to get the exciting news of Christ’s resurrection out between gasps for air. That is something a tweet or text just isn’t going to capture.
I think the same can be said about our attempts to share the good news of the resurrected Christ with those who need to hear it. I was looking at Facebook the other day and saw a post from the East Fairfield United Methodist Church, located on the Mahoning Valley District. The congregation had hosted a Saturday morning event that included breakfast, a visit with the Easter Bunny, hearing the Easter Story and an Easter egg hunt. I need to add, the children heard the Easter Story three times. They heard someone read the story, they did an activity based on the story where they received an Easter egg with a small figurine of Jesus inside the egg, and they did a craft based on the story. Talk about reinforcing a message.
One of the outreach ministries of the East Fairfield Congregation is a program called Heroes and Halos. It is a ministry that serves children with disabilities and their families. While this is a ministry of the church, none of the families that take part in this ministry are members of the East Fairfield Church or attend worship there. Many of the families in the program have been part of other congregations where they have been told not to come back because their child was disruptive to the church!
A seven-year-old boy from the Heroes and Halos group, who had been in an accident that resulted in permanent brain damage, was present at the Easter egg hunt. For some time the young boy had been asking his mother some deep questions. “Is God real? Is Jesus with me all of the time?” When the child heard the Easter Story and received the plastic egg with a figurine of Jesus in it, he exclaimed, “Now I can keep Jesus with me all of the time. Now I know that Jesus is with me.”
When the congregation runs out of the doors of the church building; when we venture out into the community because we have life transforming news to share, great things happen. Had it not been for an outreach ministry like Heroes and Halos, I don’t think this encounter would have happened. Had it not been for an outreach ministry that featured breakfast, a visit with the Easter Bunny, an egg hunt and hearing the Easter Story, I don’t think this seven-year-olds questions would have been answered.
When the church is so excited about the good news of the gospel - of the healing, purpose giving, life transforming power of Christ - we will bust down the doors to reach out and share this news with those who need to experience it most.
Serving Christ with You,
Firelands District Office:
Rev. Doug Lewis
3 Stower Ln., Unit 5
Norwalk OH 44857
Office Hours: Monday through Friday
9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
(Closed Fridays in July & August)
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