Monday, April 25, 2011

My Ultimate Easter Story

In the Christian Church, Easter Sunday is arguably one of the busiest Sundays of the year.  I serve on the Host Team at my church, and Easter Sunday just happened to be my Sunday to serve our members and visitors.  It was my special pleasure to greet them, answer their questions and direct them with a smile on my face and the joy of Christ’s Resurrection in my heart. I tell you, me and that joy must have walked 50 women to the “nearest ladies room” this morning, and I enjoyed every minute of it.   🙂

Seriously, though, I absolutely LOVE watching the faces of visitors light up at the sound of a simple “good morning” and welcome….  You never know when a heartfelt “hello” with a great big smile is the first of its kind a person has had all week.  Even fellow members often reciprocate the greeting with a hearty “good morning, Monica” (as they read my name tag) or an appreciative “thank you for serving this morning”.  I love it!  At the end of  service, we bid the worshipers farewell and blessings for the upcoming week, remaining at our posts until the worship auditorium is nearly empty and most people have spilled through the exits and back into their cars.

On Easter Sunday, as this process unfolded, I noticed an older gentleman hovering behind me with quite a disoriented look on his face.  I turned to him and asked him if I could assist him in some way.  It turns out he was lost.  He recounted his ordeal of getting into the church (which is fairly sizable) and not being able to locate his friend, who was supposed to meet him when he arrived.  Now that it was all over, he simply couldn’t remember from whence he’d come.  Our church has quite a few options for parking, and since he couldn’t really recall which door he entered it was challenging for me to determine in which parking lot he may left his car.

After gathering some information from him, I grabbed one of the leaders on our team and explained to her the situation.  She, then, radioed to the members of our parking lot team and basically put out an APB on this man’s vehicle.  Within minutes, someone on the team had located the vehicle.  Praise the Lord!!  The next order of business was to find a way to help this gentleman to his vehicle.  You see he was a bit older, and he had already walked quite a distance on a cane to get inside to hear the message of the risen Savior.  He was sweating profusely when he reached me (probably from sheer stress), and he simply did not have the strength to walk back to wherever his car was parked.  As our team leader was searching for a solution to part B of his challenge, she left me to keep our guest company until she returned.  Let me tell you….Those few minutes I spent with Mr. Mark (that’s his name) were the most rewarding of the almost 3 hours I’d spent in the building.

I chatted it up with Mr. Mark – learned where he’s from, how long he’s been here, and what brought him to my church.  He said that he was glad he stopped over where I was, because he didn’t want to ask for help.  He even admitted that men often don’t like to ask for help, because to them it appears to be a sign of weakness.  I promise, he said this, I didn’t!  I know the Spirit of the Lord led Mr. Mark my way.  It was wonderful, because I was blessed with the opportunity to just encourage him and tell him how happy I was that he did stop in my area and that there isn’t a single thing weak about asking for help when you need it.

A few moments passed, and we continued to chat.  I wanted to do everything possible to make his transition from this Resurrection Day service and back to his home as smooth as possible.  Our leader returned with a wheelchair, and by now, this gentleman had definitely left pride at the altar.  He was delighted to oblige her offer to whisk him out to an area where someone could get him safely to his car.

As they prepared to leave, we shook hands and said our farewells.  He thanked me for my help, and I told him it was truly my pleasure.  Indeed it was.  For I felt like I was blessed with an opportunity to personally display the heart of the risen Savior to this first-time visitor who had momentarily lost his way.  After all, isn’t that what Christ has done for me.

Finally, as I contemplated the letter U and the events of Resurrection Day, the word ultimate came to mind and lingered for a spell.  One definition of the word “ultimate” is “the best or most extreme of its kind:utmost”.  Hmmmm…. It sure was my utmost pleasure to serve this kind man on Easter Sunday, so maybe I will call this my ultimate Easter story. 🙂

Wise, Virtuous, Valuable,