Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Easter... Welcome.

I stood up to give the following welcome on Easter morning at FBC Austin...

"It’s rainy. But we’re here. A perfect day for a book and a blanket, but we’re dressed to the nines in all colors and patterns and instead of any old rainy day book, we’ve chosen to read the Good book this morning.


Because 2000 years ago something miraculous happened. Something that would change the world entirely. Not for a moment, not for a day, not even for a generation… but forever. God became flesh and dwelt among us and cried and laughed and was crucified for loving us so much. The world can only handle so much love…

But apparently the grave can only handle so much love as well and three days later, God resurrected from the grave and offered hope that we too may all die to ourselves and live in the life that is Christ.

So welcome this morning. Welcome to First Baptist Church. The women have brought the good news, the men have gone running back to the tomb to see for themselves and the cowards have locked themselves in the upper rooms, afraid to believe that indeed, we can live in freedom.

So wherever you are, whoever you are, arise, the Light has come. The darkness does not triumph. And Christ is risen indeed!"

However, part way through the second paragraph as I scanned the congregation, I saw someone I haven't seen at church in over two years: Scott Walker.

Scott was one reason 2008 was such a challenging year. He was a junior in High School that spring with a promising future, but Scott tried to take his life and was almost successful. His mother found him and revived him and ever since then Scott has been in and out of neuro-hospitals receiving multiple treatments and undergoing many surgeries.

But there he was in church, on resurrection Sunday, sitting in his wheelchair with a huge gaping grin on his face. While his motor skills are limited, I could tell he recognized me - my voice, and I could tell he was loving being there. And I began to weep.

You should warn a girl if something as momentous as Scott Walker returning to church two laborious years after that Sunday afternoon when everything changed is going to happen. If a girl has to stand up and talk in front of 800 people, someone should warn her.

I suppose everyone thought I was crying about Jesus. But I wasn't. And yet, in a way I was. While Scott will never be the same, never be the Scott we knew, he is a new Scott now and God has surrounded his family with love and joy, despite their tragedy. Only God got them through that moment, those minutes, those few hours, those weeks, those months, those years, and only God will continue to.

After my welcome, I crossed back behind the organ pipes, took off my robe, and re-entered by the choir loft to lead the congregation in singing, Come Awake by David Crowder Band. This too, could not have been more perfect for Easter morning. Not only are the lyrics amazing, but that was the song we sang to comfort ourselves after Scott's tragedy. Over and over we sang it... "Come awake from sleep, arise. You were dead, become alive..." In some ways he did and in some ways he didn't.

But there he was on Easter, Resurrection Sunday and there we were singing Come Awake.

Come Awake.

For lunch I joined my FBC "parents" the Nethercuts, for an amazing meal at the UT Club. Hoity toity and delicious. Rich people sure know how to eat. And the company was good and it was nice to feel a part of a family.

Come Awake.

That afternoon, after the sun came out, I went to the park with my dog and laid on a blanket in the sun and read and read. It was amazing. Perfect weather where you don't feel hot but neither do you feel cold. Just warm and content all over.

Come Awake.

That evening, I went to a friends house for a BBQ and drank and drank and laughed and laughed and shouted, "He Is Risen!" in my slightly inebriated state.

Come Awake.

I was awake. And I was happy. What a perfect Easter. Beautiful, meaningful and rich. "I overindulged at church (on thankfulness) and at lunch (on food)!" I wrote for my facebook update.

Come Awake... Welcome, Easter. Welcome back.


Rebecca Dillavou said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing, Ann. What a wonderful story!

LtlAmerica said...

What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing it.

Mama Arleigh said...

So that's why you were emotional! Seeing Scott was the icing on the cake that is Easter for me. He was exuberant! I teared up also in the final hymn when I looked at Scott and his dad...they were holding hands. What a day, indeed.