It is tradition on Easter for our entire church to come together for one service at the Civic Center in heart of downtown Santa Cruz. In the heart of a city full of people that seem unreachable, desperate, unwholesome, and dark. Yet, even in the heart of this city, there is Light.
As the band started up on this reverent Resurrection Sunday, I glanced around the room at the thousands of believers surrounding me, singing "This Little Light of Mine." Tears welled in my eyes as I had the distinct sense that I was a tiny part of something so much bigger than myself. Sometimes tears are the only language of the spirit within us. When our mind can't find the words, our heart can.
It happened, too, about a month ago. It was one of those Sunday mornings when I had been wondering why we had bothered coming to church because we arrived late with three cranky kids and I spent most of the service shushing them and passing out snacks or crayons. At the end of the service was an extended period of singing and I was finally able to engage. Despite my familial chaos, in those last minutes of church God laid a heavy burden on me for the lady sitting next to our family, listening but not singing. I felt an urgency to meet her before she rolled out with the masses. We connected instantly as if she had been my friend for a long time. As it turns out, it was her first experience in church ever. The next week I saw her again, we prayed together, and I had the privilege of giving her her first Bible. I will remember that moment my whole life.
I don't think for a minute that the experience had anything to do with me. God had been working in this woman's life for a LONG time and I happened to cross her path at one particular place in her spiritual journey. I was so wrapped up in my own garbage I don't think I would have noticed this gal if the Spirit of God hadn't laid it heavily upon my heart. Both Sundays meeting with her left me humbled with the realization that life is so much bigger than me and my little myopic life. I can't help but wonder if all of that garbage with my cranky kids was an effort to distract me from being a part of the bigger picture.
On a cross, two thousand years ago, a man died leaving his family and friends distraught in their loss. The picture was small and personal, affecting a crowd in a city in a land far away. Then the resurrection. A tragic event suddenly became so much bigger than the emotions of the people involved. It affected all people across all generations for the rest of time. The bigger story changed the world.
We are a part of that bigger story and the Light that changed the world.
Happy Easter from my family to yours!