Just in case you are interested, there are just 378 days until the next Easter. It’s late next year — and still over a year away. I’m thinking that’s not a bad thing, since I’m exhausted (still) from last week’s events. Even though the pastels and flowers are gone this morning, I want to say a couple of things. Thanks to all those who served to make this a very special celebration of Jesus. From the children’s event to the art show and the floral display last Sunday and the printing and design and hospitality shared, and chairs set up just right and the Lord’s Supper. It was a WOW year, for sure. So, thanks for helping us clearly display the story of Him we serve.

And second, we must remember to keep moving forward. We aren’t only ambassadors during some holiday, but all year round. There is a sense that a holiday service is like a movie trailer, providing folks a taste of who we are — and who we serve. We had a great crowd last Sunday (455 in the worship center), and we were able to provide a taste of who we are. But that’s just it. It was only a taste.

We worship Jesus not because of what He gives us materially, but because He provides our lives with hope. That distinction was really obvious on that first Resurrection Sunday. From that morning onward, it is obvious that the grave has not won, that death has been defeated, that the guilt and power of sin has been nullified. Before the sun rose on that Sunday morning, the disciples were astonished, at best; despairing, at worst; helpless, in the least — and Jesus walked in with His life-changing peace.

Jesus stepped into their space in the same way He steps into ours — as the resurrected Christ, the reigning King, the Lord of all. He comes as the one who is not served by human hands as though He needed anything, but who gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. He comes as the one whose glory is not contrived by our praise, but whose glory compels our praise — even today, even on this “normal” Sunday.

Or, perhaps, He compels our praise especially on this normal Sunday because we’re reminded that worship is not about us bringing our best, but about finding Him as better. We come to Him who first came to us. And we come not to give, but to receive. We come as those who need to hear His voice, feel His nearness, know His love.

I didn’t do the count, but we have at least 53 Sundays to get ready to celebrate Resurrection again. In the meantime, we keep our eyes on the Risen Savior and discover Him to be our daily hope. We come this morning to find God, to say together, humbly and gladly in the Spirit’s power, with the heart of Psalm 116:12-13, “What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the Lord’s name for saving me.” (CEV)