We celebrated Easter at Mount Vernon Place yesterday. Easter is my favorite Sunday of the entire year. It is a day on which we always get to welcome into the midst of our congregation several visitors -- from here and there and everywhere. It is a day on which we get to get out of bed extra early for a sunrise service at 7:00. It is a day on which we get to see children running around with a sugar high -- the same high I'll have later tonight since I just bought half-price Cadbury eggs! And, it is a day on which we get to proclaim boldly the most amazing story of our Christian faith -- He is Risen! Christ has conquered sin and death and offers us new life, making us a new creation!
I have seen signs of the resurrection often in recent days. Last week, I went to Ground Zero for the first time while in New York City. So many thoughts went through my head as I stood there, looking at the big hole on which a memorial will one day stand. But it was something at the fire station across the street from Ground Zero that caught my attention. Words painted on the side of a fire truck reminded me that he is risen.
I shared the words with the congregation yesterday, reading the names I saw painted on the truck out loud. They are the names of six men -- six fire fighters -- who died on 9/11. However, the message painted underneath their names does not say, "Sorry it's over" or "It is finished." The message painted beneath their names says, "Till we meet again."
This promise of meeting again is impossible without Christ. Without Christ, everything is finished -- over -- complete. Without Christ -- we all perish only to be buried in the ground. But with Christ, we have the assurance that we can live eternally -- that we can meet again -- because he has gone to prepare a place for us and will one day bring us to him. What a blessed promise!
Dennis, our neighbor that often sleeps on the church's lawn, has also given us a sign of the resurrection. At some point last week, a tree in the church's yard was adorned with a variety of little things and little people. There are two dolls with clothes on hanging in the tree and a variety of smaller toys all over the ground. When I asked Dennis about the things, he said, "Easter is coming. You'll have lots of children here on Sunday."
An almost two-year-old boy found the tree yesterday and stood looking at it in pure delight. This same child reminded us of how wonderful new life is as he kept us entertained during the Sunrise Service. The child is a new creation, and Dennis offered a new creation in the tree that once again points towards Christ.
There was one more sign of resurrection today -- a sign that did not delight me but did make me laugh. I was getting out of my car at the church and looked down to see sprinkles of wet white stuff all down the front of my coat. The birds are out again -- they are chirping in the early hours of the morning and sitting in trees above cars all over the city. I hear it's good luck to have a bird poop on you. I'll just call it another sign of new life -- a sign of resurrection.