Yesterday, nearly 300 people gathered for worship at Virginia-Highland church. That is the most we have had in worship in many decades. Like most mainline churches, our congregation suffered a long decline, and, a few years ago, many assumed it had reached the point of no return. Today it is a vital, vibrant, diverse congregation.
There are many reasons for that resurrection, but none more important than the tenacity of a few people who refused to give up. Denominational folks said the church was dead, but, Sunday after Sunday, a handful of people showed up, opened the doors, held worship, and invited the Spirit to blow through the sanctuary. Against all odds, it happened, and today they are a remarkable witness to the possibility of resurrection.
Mary got up before dawn, gathered her spices, and headed to the tomb. She didn’t have high expectations. I’m not sure how she planned to have the stone moved so she could do her embalming work. I’m not saying she had a lot of faith, but she had a lot of faithfulness. When resurrection happened she was there.
We can’t make resurrections happen, but we can be there. We can be faithful. We can be present. We can open the windows and doors of our souls and invite the Spirit to blow through, and we can be present when it happens.
I don’t know what areas of your life need to be resurrected, and I can’t guarantee that, even with the coming of spring, there will be new buds of promise. There are three plants on our balcony. I water all three of them regularly. One already has budded out and is green and growing wildly. The other two still look dead, and I don’t know if they will grow again. I do know, though, that they won’t if I don’t water them, so I do what I can and I leave the results to the life that is in them. If they grow we will have flowers in the summer from all three, if they do not I will enjoy the one that already is growing like I never doubted it.
Rev. Michael Piazza