Tag Archive: easter

We have folks ask us all the time what worship is like at Milagro. And although we usually podcast Amy’s sermons on the church podcast, we don’t usually record the whole service.

But since it was Easter, we decided to do the whole thing, edited down for time, and share it here:


Let us know what you think, or better yet, come join us some Sunday morning.

For more about Milagro, visit www.milagrocc.org.


Jesus is standing in front of the temple in Jerusalem
the massive gleaming brick and stone and gold house of God
and he says destroy this temple
and I’ll rebuild it in three days

the people listening to him said how are you going to do that?
it took 46 years to build this temple!
but he wasn’t talking about that temple
he’s talking about himself
he essentially says, listen
I’m going to be killed
that’s where this is headed
because you don’t confront corrupt systems of power
without paying for it
sometimes with your own blood
and so he’s headed to his execution
if you had witnessed this divine life extinguished on a cross
how would you not be overwhelmed with despair?

is the world ultimately a cold, hard, dead place?

does death have the last word?
is it truly, honestly, actually dark
and so whatever light we do see
whatever good we do stumble upon
are those just blips on the radar?
momentary interruptions in an otherwise meaningless existence?
because if that’s the case then despair is the
only reasonable response

it’s easy to be cynical

but Jesus says destroy this temple and I’ll rebuild it
he insists that his execution would not be the end
he’s talking about something new and unexpected
happening after his death
he’s talking about resurrection

resurrection announces that God has not given up on the world
because this world matters
this world that we call home
dirt and blood and sweat and skin and light and water
this world that God is redeeming and restoring and renewing

greed and violence and abuse they are not right
and they cannot last
they belong to death and death does not belong

resurrection says that what we do with our lives matters
in this body
the one that we inhabit right now
every act of compassion matters
every work of art that celebrates the good and the true matters
every fair and honest act of business and trade
every kind word
they all belong and they will all go on in God’s good world
nothing will be forgotten
nothing will be wasted
it all has it’s place

everybody believes something
everybody believes somebody
Jesus invites us to trust resurrection
that every glimmer of good
every hint of hope
every impulse that elevates the soul
is a sign, a taste, a glimpse
of how things actually are
and how things will ultimately be
resurrection affirms this life and the next
as a seamless reality
and saved by God

there is an unexpected mysterious presence
who meets each of us in our lowest moments
when we have no strength when we have nothing left
and we can’t go on we hear the voice that speaks those

destroy this temple and I’ll rebuild it

do you believe this?
that’s the question Jesus asked then
and that’s the question he asks now

Jesus’ friends arrive at his tomb and they’re told
he isn’t here
you didn’t see that coming, did you?
he’s isn’t here
there is nothing to fear
and nothing can ever be the same again
we are living in a world in the midst of rescue
with endless unexpected possibilities

they will take my life and I will die Jesus says
but that will not be the end
and when you find yourself assuming that it’s over
when it’s lost, gone, broken and it could never be
put back together again,
when it’s been destroyed and you swear that it could never
be rebuilt

hold on a minute
because in that moment
things will in fact have just begun

I posted a comment on my Facebook Page and Twitter Page recently about how it seems ironic to me that so many churches who focus on atonement theology (the idea that Jesus died for your sins as central to what they believe) seems to jump right past Holy Week and on to Easter.

It seems to me that someone who preaches about and studies the death and suffering of Christ so much the rest of the year would have a field day emphasizing this central tenet of their beliefs on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. But most of the churches in town that I know focus on this kind of image of Jesus have had slogans like ‘Christ is Risen!” on their signs for a couple of weeks already.

But can we really celebrate the resurrection, whatever meaning that takes on for your and your church, if we skip over the crucifixion? Moreover, aren’t we missing something if we don’t participate in the Passover Seder meal on the Thursday before Easter? Yes, this is traditionally a Jewish ritual, but it is, after all the meal that took place at the Last Supper.

(Side note: I know this is shocking stuff for some, but Jesus wasn’t a Christian; he was a Jew.)

Some of the responses I got to this comment were more lighthearted, pointing out that those who emphasize death and suffering so much year-round may see Easter as a time to take a little break, albeit maybe poorly timed. But Liesl, another friend of mine, pointed out that, in the church of her childhood, the reason Holy Week was not observed is because it “is too Papist.”

Basically, what she’s saying is that, since Protestants broke away from the Catholic Church thanks to Martin Luther (the root meaning of “Protestant” is “protest” against many teachings of the Catholic church at the time), it’s in our theological DNA to reject all things Catholic. Since the Reformation, lost of us have defined ourselves more by what we’re not like in the Catholic tradition than by what we are though. And frankly, I think we’ve missed out on a lot of good things the Catholic church does really well.

As for Disciples in particular (the denomination of my wife and me, who co-founded Milagro Christian Church together six years ago), we have a real opportunity to connect with people who have some historical connection with Catholicism, but who do not actively participate in that church tradition any more. For one, we observe communion every week, much like the Catholic church, but rather than placing the church in a position of arbiter over who is fit to receive it or not, most Disciples churches observe an “Open Table,” which means that it’s not up to us as leaders to determine your fitness to take communion. We offer it to all people; whether you choose to take it is between you and God.

The fact that some of us also observe the liturgical calendar (observation of holy Week and following the Lectionary, among others) also appeals to a lot of people who are Catholic, and yet they find an openness in our lack of creeds or dogma that gets them past whatever alienated them from church in the past. As for Milagro, nearly half of our congregation is made up of these kinds of folks. so for us, the connection to Catholicism is not only valuable to enrich our sense of connectedness to deeper tradition; it’s a part of who we are today, as a faith community.

We do, however, have a couple of folks who respectfully decline to participate in thins like out Maundy Thursday, Passover Seder and Good Friday services namely because they feel “too Catholic” or “too not-Christian.” Here, we just agree to disagree, though I can’t help but think they’re missing out on a broader perspective on their faiths of origin.

(Another side note: it’s common practice here in Pueblo to ask folks, ‘Are you Catholic or Christian?” is if the two are mutually exclusive. Weird.”

So I’m curious what others think. Do you feel like we may have gone a little too far with the Reformation, losing out on things like images and theology of the Divine Feminine, Holy Week and the like? Or is it important to maintain a cleaner break, setting ourselves apart from the faiths of Judaism and Catholicism that we came from? For that matter, is there value in digging deeper, looking into even things like Gnosticism, Zoroastrianism and other Pagan beliefs that informed many sacred practices we still embrace today?

Let me know what you think.

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