Easter Sunday

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This image of our youngest’s jump into Crater Lake seems like a fitting one for Easter — a day when freedom and joy came to humanity!

Holy Week is one of my favorite weeks all year long. With nightly services from contemplative to interactive, around table fellowship and in silence, culminating with Easter Sunday the week is always full and incredible. I noted how much more energy and joy I had this year, seeking to be clearer with how much I was working and how much I was leaving myself space.

This year at the end of Easter Sunday – I was journaling and began to list out what I wished had happened that day. As I wrote, I asked, “Jesus how would you like me to reflect upon today?”

Immediately the Lord said, “Child. How about we look for what I was doing? This is all about you in your head, but look for me…”

And as I sat in the presence of the One who is real and true, image after image slid through my mind’s eye as I saw Jesus working, walking in our worshiping experiences together.

There he was sitting next to Bonnie at the Sunrise service his arm around her shoulder. Jesus met with five women who happened to miss their separate Sunrise Services but connected at the registers while shopping at Winco, compared stories, so all of them stood in the parking lot and had their own sunrise service. Jesus was there.

Jesus sang through Susan, helping her overcome the two week old lip injury that had kept her silent and voiceless. She testified how she had felt God powerfully as He sang with her.

He acted through Fred, portraying Jesus, so that when Fred donned the robe and wig, he did not look silly, but became Jesus! It was simply remarkable. And he was present with Andy and Marianne, loving them.

Jesus had his arm around Scarlet as she testified to the Risen One in her life experience.

He worshipped with the shofar.

He was sitting next to a young man, arm around his shoulder, tears streaming down Jesus’ cheeks as he hurt for the pain this vet feels and cannot yet release.

As I spoke, Jesus was speaking through me in the message, forming hope in the people.

Jesus whispered into a woman’s ear, “I love you, Daughter.”

He hugged many with the arms of 8 year old Isaac.

He reached out to people with me.

At one point he was on the floor laughing with immense Joy in worship.

On and on the scenes continued, as Jesus showed me just how mighty he was during worship on Sunday. And I realized again that this thing called church is so much more than just whatever any of us seek to prepare, it is the presence of the Living One who meets us and reaches through us.

That experience with Jesus, reminded me at how often I limit my life to what I believe or imagine is happening. It reminded me how much I walk by “sight” not “faith” and can walk away from an experience disappointed because of only believing “what I saw.”

How crucial to instead walk by what Jesus is doing in and through and around and within me. How crucial to remember that it is not “up to me” and “not about me” in many ways, but up to Jesus through me. And he is always at work.

Jesus ended this parade of images with instructions among which he said, “Treat lies like you do the garbage. Take it out to the curb.” Amen.

 

 

About Camino Way 2016 Shimer

On August 22, 1981 I married this wonderful woman, Karen, who has consistently blessed and changed my life and days. We are still in love, all the more with the years. We have four daughters, two sons by marriage, and three delightful, wonderful grandchildren. So, that makes me a husband, father, and grandfather all in those sentences. But mostly just a guy who loves my family. Today Karen and I planted beautiful plants in numerous pots. She had come home with the plants and that experience reminded me how much I enjoy simple things and simple pleasures -- like digging in dirt to plant a flower, like sunlight through glass on a spring day, like clean windows -- just washed ours today -- like a melody that won't escape from my heart. I've been a local church pastor for 30 years as of this June, a number that staggers me for I feel about that age on the inside, but clearly that's not the case. Back in 1988 I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary with an Mdiv-- a time of schooling that has been a foundation for years of ministry. But it is mostly in the building upon that foundation, that has most changed my life. I love people, love seeing Jesus work in people's lives. One of my favorite joys is to pray with someone through some horrible place of memory and see Jesus walk right into their memory world, and turn on the lights in a way that sets their soul free and brings healing. There's nothing like this privilege and I have been there to watch it happen more times than I can count. Between 4 and 7 the associate pastor of my family's congregation sexually abused me, first grooming me, then repeatedly violating my young self. This marked my life. It changed my bearings. It ripped at my faith. It wounded my image of what it meant to be a little boy, and later a man. It has been a point from which I have been in the process of healing for many years now. I'm a survivor, but more than that, I am one who lives beyond what was done. For in the middle of all that stuff, Jesus was calling me, speaking to me, bidding me to follow him to bring change to people's lives within the realm of the very office that was used to harm me. Only Jesus can make light from darkness, hope from despair, and healing from brokenness. I love Jesus. He really is alive, no matter what others may believe. And his life, his presence, his words into my world, his healing power have continued to be the foundation point of what it means to experience life to the fullest. I love writing. I don't really know why on that score for really writing has never been a central tool in my world, nor has it come easily. But I love seeing how words released heal. And I love the way words can connect me to other people's worlds. So, that's why I started blogging. It began because I was planning to blog on a weekly basis when I went to walk the Camino de Santiago last fall. And in order to be able to blog while walking, I knew I had to begin to practice blogging before I was in another country. A friend told me that. Friends are good to help us find ways to live more authentically into our daily lives! So, I started. But what I have discovered is there is something powerful about sharing the story of life with others. So, I have continued. And I love the connections being built through those words. In 2011 I experienced my first seminar in Simply the Story, a bible story telling method that involves those listening in discussion and I decided then -- "this is what I plan to do when I retire." But really-- "why wait until then?" -- so I use this method while I continue pastoring. It sets people free and allows the Word to take root in ways that preaching never has. So again and again I am practicing asking questions and that is good practice for me, because I am frequently better at "telling" than "asking." This has been such a freeing gift. I love training others in this skill. So, a storyteller would certainly be true of me too. Years ago I discovered my mission in life is "the joyful transformation of people's lives through the person of Jesus Christ." And that continues to be where I find my home base, in joy. Where there is joy, I find, there is Jesus, and there is the possibility of transformation. Of course Jesus is in places where there is no joy as well, and once He is there, the place kind of changes because of Him. I love that.
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