You are probably thinking a variety of things as you read a one-word title “Roots”. As I dwell on Holy Week, I remember my roots in the United Methodist Church. I am not fond of the denomination as a whole, but I grew up with some great people in our little church in Virginia. As in any church, some were truly born again while others were just playing church. For me as a born again believer, the meaning of Holy Week was deep.

In my pursuit of more conservative Christianity, I forgot my roots. I “threw the baby out with the bath water” because I did not want to look liberal if I accepted anything from my roots. As a 38 year old who has grown in many areas, I have regained an appreciation for these special days in the church.

I must admit that I have not thought much about Easter this year. When I do not hold a “church job”, it is easy to forget about it. For years, I was preparing months in advance for Easter with extra choir rehearsals. As a pastor, I was thinking about preaching a message that was Spirit-led yet not the standard Resurrection Sunday message. This year, I have been sick for the last two weeks leading up to Easter. So now I sit here at the computer and try to focus on Easter Sunday.

Today marks the night our Savior was betrayed. One of the very disciples Jesus selected would sell him out to be crucified. Tomorrow will commemorate the death of our Savior on Calvary. Praise God that the story did not stop there. Sunday focuses on Jesus conquering death. Because He lives, we too shall live.

My celebrations this weekend will not be anything like the ones I had growing up. There will not be the somber Good Friday service where all the church decorations were taken out and the congregation would walk out in silence. There will not be the decorating of the sanctuary with Easter lilies on Saturday for the 8:00 am service on Sunday followed by breakfast. Over 20 years later, things are a lot different. One thing remains – eternal life is available through the Lord Jesus Christ to all who place their faith and trust in Him. Your traditions may vary, but this message rooted in the heart of God must stay the same.

This was the church where ministry began for me in 1996. Asbury United Methodist Church of Portsmouth, Virginia closed its doors in 2014, but the legacy lives on.

2 thoughts on “Roots

  1. My “roots” came from a Presbyterian church. I did not really meet any “true believers” in that church until I was an adult; before that, I heard many proclaim how proud they were to be a Presbyterian. I was at a fundamental Baptist service last Easter Sunday, where they were making a point that this day was no different than any other. This year at my home church, which is Spirit filled, we had a 7 PM Good Friday service with a baptism. Quite a change from the 3 hour services from noon-3 PM at the church I grew up in. Sunday we had a “sunrise service” qt 7:30 AM. Our Pastor shared the women coming to the tomb and his story of falling into depression during the building project that was broken when he went to a retreat where his mother leaving him when he was 6 was revealed as the lynch pin in his struggles over the years. The last day of the retreat, the 60 men were let lose in a prayer labyrinth with bagpipes in the distance playing Amazing Grace. He realized through all his trials he’d never really been far from Father God no matter what part of the crazy paths he was on. Our younger pastor shared at 10 AM and went through Christ’s sufferings mental, physical, Spiritual and related his season of very strong chemo, how the Lord hadn’t chosen to take the cancer away, but showed him through the struggle that His comfort was there and it was a time he needed to go through to change his relation to the Lord. Both brought out the relationships in Christ that are only possible because of the Resurrection and being part of the Body of Christ.

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