Bulletin/Order of Worship for this reflection can be found here: Bulletin-TL 04-9-2023 YA Easter
Let us pray:
Now, O Lord, calm us into quietness. Take us to that place within You that heals, listens, and molds our longings and passions, our wounds and wanderings, and transforms us into a more holy human shape. For it is in You that we live and move and have our being. Amen.
I wrote in the E-news this last Friday a little bit about what Dr. Marcia McFee calls a “metamorphosis moment.” A timely reminder for Easter and for the place we find ourselves right now. This congregation is in the midst of its own “metamorphosis moment” – or set of moments. Specifically, I would apply the whole process of spinning a cocoon, changing in deep sleep, and emerging transformed to the transitional ministry context through which you are journeying.
In light of that, I would not be surprised if many of you are still feeling cocoon-ish. With the uncertainty, then ultimate loss of Pastor Matt over the last year and then Pastor Sharon only a month and a half ago, so much from “before” is now gone. From my perspective, the image of chrysalis formation fits the last nine months of your congregational life together.
Yet here is a word of Good News, even in the midst of that: the time Jesus spent on earth with his disciples is similar. Taking simple fishermen, tradesmen, an accountant-tax collector, a Temple server, and other ordinary people and teaching them over his three years of active public ministry was both challengin them and changing them. In that time, they began to be transformed – that incredible growth up to the moment of “spinning” if you will – but not yet a full cocoon.
Then Jesus was crucified, and the movement and growth they had been experiencing was halted. That is the moment they entered into their cocoon-like existence. For us, we might equate that with the grief and loss of the transitional ministry you have been experiencing the last nine months or so; – feelings of perhaps being zombies sleep-walking through each day trying to make meaning of what has happened. But here again is a word of Good News: Even though Jesus himself entered the tomb – a very real death just like each of us will enter at some point in our journey of life – for him, it was a womb-like cocooning experience; with a three-day metamorphosis to new life. He returned to life – real life – still a scientific mystery to us but one we believe in faith.
Applying that once again to the transitional ministry process we have been experiencing, three Star Words came to light this week that I believe were meant to rise to the surface at just this time: Draw Near and Patience. Even as Jesus drew near to the bosom of God during his time in the tomb, it was also a womb time. Just as the disciples had to experience the loss of Jesus, they also had to exercise patience before something miraculous emerged to guide them on. As Mary and the other Mary drew near to the tomb – little did they know they were also drawing near to God’s mysteries once again.
“Come, see the place where he lay,” said the angelic messenger. “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’” (28:7).
One verse later, we read,
“Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him” (28:9).
Come, worship the Lord. Draw near to him that together all of us may find the strength of purpose to emerge and live into a new renewed community of worship, discipleship, and practice. Come, worship the Lord, for he is both calling you and waiting in patient love for you to respond. Amen? May it be so!
 Adapted from a poem by Ted Loder, Guerillas of Grace: Prayers for the Battle (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress Press, 2004).