Together

Lara Schopp Articles, Carla Aday, Senior Minister Blog

My eyes were closed. I took a breath. A unison chorus of voices reverberated off of the walls and inside the caverns of my heart. “Our father…Our daily bread…Our debts.” The moment that startled me and gripped me was not the Hallelujah Chorus or the trumpet fanfare or the organ shaking the rafters, though all of that was amazing. The moment that God seemed alive among us was when you prayed together, 500 voices strong, repeating by heart the words Jesus gave us 2000 years ago. It was absolutely beautiful. Ordinary, simple and powerful. God’s people praying with one voice on Easter morning.

I guess before the pandemic I took that for granted. But this year, because it had been three years since we gathered in person to celebrate Christ’s resurrection, I was blown away by the energy that I felt as we prayed together. And for the first time, I noticed that the prayer is written “Our father” and not “my father,” “Our bread” not “my bread,” “Give us” not “give me,” and “Lead Us,” not “ Lead me.” At the heart of it, our faith is not individual but communal. Oh sure, we can each believe what we decide about certain doctrines but the faith is not a private matter. Rather God is a holy presence that we share. God is the God of “us.” We need to be together. We need to pray together, sing together, sit in solitude together, break bread together.

And this energy spilled into the parlor after services where we collectively enjoyed 20 dozen cinnamon rolls, 256 Easter egg donuts and 500 donut holes. I will not ask you how many you ate if you will not ask me how many I ate! I had never seen folks linger before and after services like we did this year. There was joy in the air.

In the days and weeks after Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared to many of his friends and followers, mostly to groups of folks — fishermen, dinner parties, homes, travelers on the road. Sometimes they recognized him immediately and sometimes they didn’t. But afterwards, one of them said, “Did our hearts not burn while he was among us.” (Luke 24:32). I am grateful that you and I can gather together with friends old and new for weekly worship. Every Sunday is a reminder of the Risen Christ alive among us. Every Sunday is a “mini Easter.” Long after this Easter’s lilies fade, I will still remember how my heart burned because the risen Christ was glimpsed as we said the Lord’s Prayer.

You inspired me by being “The church.” You rose up to “do church.” You revealed to me the risen Christ.

Grace and Peace,
Carla