Get your ticket punched

My dad, a retired pastor, tells a great story about a woman in his internship congregation in Staten Island, NY. She was one of the pillars of the congregation, one who not only could be counted on to be at every service, but also one who really "got it," who understood more than most what the life of faith was all about.

According to the story, she said to my dad that she thought that on Good Friday people ought to “have their ticket punched” and only those who had the punched ticket from Good Friday would be admitted to the worship service on Easter Sunday.

Now, I never met this woman. I assume from the other things that my dad has said about her that she wouldn't really advocate this practice—her sense of evangelical hospitality, I suspect, would have trumped any literal implementation of this practice. But her point was well taken; it must have struck a chord both with my dad, who continues to share this story more than 50 years later, and with me, who has taken up the mantle as well.

Her point was that in order to truly, deeply, fully experience the wonder and mystery of the resurrection, one has to enter into the pain and suffering, the sense of abandonment and loss, the sense of crushed hope and utter disappointment that is Good Friday. That in order for God to really, truly raise Jesus from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus has to really, truly die.

As much as we struggle to make sense of the resurrection, it makes no sense whatsoever without Jesus' suffering and death. More people need to experience both sides of this mystery of faith, this woman seemed to be saying. Getting a ticket punched and bringing it with you on Easter was her way of honoring the connections between these observances.

In that spirit, I invite you to enter fully into the connections to be found in the observance of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday:

Maundy Thursday, April 2
12:00 noon with light meal following
6:30 p.m. Youth-led service with light meal

Good Friday, April 3
10:30 a.m. Children and Family Service
6:30 p.m. Lenten Cantata, "Song of the Shadows"

Easter Sunday, April 5
Worship at 8:00, 9:00, 10:15, and 11:15 a.m.

Click here for more details.

Central to our faith is the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Come see, hear, and experience this again this year.

No ticket required.

Pastor Peter