Dear friend ---
It is almost here! I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. I can't wait for Easter Sunday to get here. The music, the pageantry, the lilies... all of it!
If ever there is a day worthy of pulling out all the stops, this is it. For Easter is a reminder that there is a new way that the universe works. The old boundaries have been torn down and in their place are the limitless characteristics of hope, promise and love.
So we will gather on this first morning of the week to peer into the tomb, only to discover it is empty! He has been raised. This is the first day of the rest of our lives!
On Easter, there will be energetic crowds and joyous worship. I encourage you to join us for one of our four Easter services. We'll gather in the courtyard for a Sunrise Service at 6:45am, led by our Executive Minister, Rev. Renee Hoke. And then we'll gather in the Sanctuary for our traditional worship services at 9:00am and 11:00am. There will also be a Simple Worship service in the Chapel at 9:30am led by Rev. Shannon Moore. This is a simple, come-as-you-are service.
My sermon title for Easter Sunday will be "Beyond Belief." In my experience of 25 years of ministry, I've discovered there are two kinds of people: those who believe Easter is true, and those who desperately WANT it to be true, even if they don't believe it! Regardless of how we come -- believing a little or believing a lot -- we all want for it to be true!
The truth is, everybody believes in something. The invitation on Easter is to believe in resurrection: to believe that people can change, marriages can be mended, addictions can be overcome, that compassion matters, that God is still acting in this world, that the final word of the story has not yet been written.
All that being said, you can't have a resurrection without a death. I hope you'll join us tonight as we gather for our Maundy Thursday Tenebrae service. This will be a very moving, dramatic service in which we'll hear the story of the final moments of Jesus' life and death. We'll gather around the table to share, too, in events of the upper room in which Jesus gave his followers a new commandment: to love one another. That service is at 7:00pm this evening in the Sanctuary.
We'll be expecting big crowds on Sunday, so I would encourage you to arrive early! Since there will be a lot of guests, if you are able, park farther away than normal to save parking spots up close for our guests and for those who may be arriving late. We'll have extra greeters and folks directing traffic in the parking lots.
Finally, I hope you've invited someone to join you for worship on Sunday. The invitation cards we had printed up are just for that! And don't just invite them to come, offer to drive them if you can!
It will be a day beyond belief!
I'll see you Sunday.
With love for all of you,
Rev. Dr. Russ Peterman
University Christian Church
Fort Worth, TX