Yesterday my family and I were walking through a gift shop at the Getty Villa, waiting for a tour to begin. A moment later I heard the sound you don’t want to hear. One of our girls had just knocked over a glass jar filled with tea leaves. A shop worker came over. “We’ll pay for that,” I said confidently -- now that I knew it wasn’t that $300 replica of Aphrodite. “Don’t worry about it. This happens about once a week.” Another employee came over with a broom as I bent down to look for shards of glass. “Did you knock this over sir?” He sounded serious. “Well, actually my daughter did,” I mumbled. “Are you sure you didn’t knock this over -- Steven H. Craig.” Wait…how did this guy know ---? I looked up and started laughing. The employee grinning down at me was a friend from St. John’s. He was trying to think of a clever way to say hello when we didn’t see him behind the counter; and our little mishap was too good to be true. Turns out, he had just told his wife that though he was grateful for this new job, he was missing St. John’s on Sundays. So when we entered his shop the day after Easter, it was a reminder that neither Jesus nor His community had forgotten him. Of course we made plans to get together. And somewhere in this divine coincidence, I thought, there’s got to be an Easter lesson.
On that early Sunday morning John tells us that Mary did not immediately recognize Jesus; but that he definitely recognized her (John 20). As she wept beside the tomb she mistook Jesus for the gardener, until she heard Him say her name. That’s when Mary looked up, and in that split second her indescribable sadness turned to joy. She knew she had not been forgotten or forsaken by the God she served. Friends, Easter is more than a 2000-year-old story; it’s an ever-present reality. The same Lord who recognized Mary, has ways of making himself known until we turn, acknowledge his presence, and respond to him as Lord. How will you renew that friendship in the weeks ahead? And how will you connect with his people in worship, service, and yes even laughter, at St. John’s? Have a great week!