In 26 years as a pastor I have heard and preached a number of Easter sermons. I have watched so many people over the years endure the harsh realities of life. I have wondered over those years about some of the people who have come to the service even though their outer garments are beautiful and radiant.
What wounds do those garments hide? What scars do they cover? What grief’s are they holding onto as if they were a precious piece of jewelry?
Where does resurrection need to happen for them? For us? It has often been my prayer for many that they have an anchor that grips and that holds as solid as a rock. This is my prayer even on this day not just for Easter Sundays filled with new suits and new shoes but for everyday.
My deep prayer is that we will know true resurrection, resurrection from dreary living, resurrection from tormented relationships, resurrection from the oppression of drugs and alcohol, resurrection from bad thinking, resurrection from government policies that are hostile to the poor.
Some of us pastors and leaders sat in a meeting this week looking at texts for this Sunday and we were wondering what we should say and I said the only thing that we can preach and that is the like all of us Jesus suffered some wounds, he bore the weight of the world on his shoulders. He was executed, his body lay in the coldness of the earth for three days but today the tomb is empty.
I want to preach that message with power because there are people who are walking around in death places, consumed by anger, detached from anything that is meaningful and they need to know that they don’t have to stay there.
Jesus was not killed because he was mild and meek but because he challenged the powers that made life hard for people, that put people in bondage and kept them in bondage, that sucked the life from them little by little, that took away their dignity and reduced them to little more than cogs in a wheel.
Each day we see people looking through our doors. Many are struggling with issues of addiction, living in poverty, unemployed; some are recently out of prison.
And through our jobs ministry, and our free clinic which serves on average 400 people a month, our weekly hot meal program which serves on average 250 people a week we seek to live the message of the resurrection, to bring hope and meaning to the lives of people who have often given up on hope.
We are blessed to have a committed staff and a huge pool of volunteers who believe the message of Easter and who are wedded to the vision that the abundant life which God offers is also meant for the here and now.
We invite you to worship with us each Sunday at 9:30 a.m. We are located at 1821 North 16th Street, Milwaukee, WI
–Senior Pastor, Kenneth W. Wheeler and Associate Pastor Michelle Townsend de’ Lopez