LEARNING MORE ABOUT DISCIPLESHIP

When I lived in Denver, my then mother-in-law came for an extended visit which covered some of Lent and the season of Easter. Because she was a practicing Catholic, we attended mass with her. Since we were wholly involved in the Easter celebrations at the United Methodist Church we attended, she decided to attend what’s called “Easter Vigil” on Saturday. She had never been to an Easter Vigil before, and neither had I, so we did not know what to expect. We were thinking Easter “light” for those who could not make Easter morning worship. We were wrong!

 

Easter Vigil is a beautiful service, though after being there for 3 hours, we vowed never to attend another one! (I have re-thought this vow since then.) The service celebrates, among other things, the baptism of those adults who have been intentionally preparing for “conversion” into the Catholic Church. It is the culmination of their faithful work in discerning their journey with God within the Catholic Church. Any time adults choose their faith intentionally through the act of baptism, I want to celebrate!

 

In the early church, the season that followed Easter focused on folks like those whose baptisms we witnessed at the Easter Vigil. Their preparing for baptism was followed with a season of more intentional instruction about how to follow the way of Jesus. The whole church got involved in the continuing instruction of what it means to be a faithful disciple, or student / follower of the Risen Jesus.

 

Easter isn’t just a Sunday in the United Methodist (and, frankly, all of the Christian) Church; it’s a season.  It is a 50-day journey (a week of weeks) from the celebration of the Risen Christ to the Day of Pentecost when we celebrate the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

I thought it would interest you to note that six youth who have been on the confirmation journey, like those baptized at the Easter Vigil, have finished their classroom instruction and have entered a new phase of their journey. They will continue over the next few weeks to have conversations with their parents and with me (and maybe others) to help process what they have learned and shape it into their own statement of belief. They will make a decision whether now is the time toconfirm their faith. Around the Day of Pentecost, if they choose, they will publically confirm the faith that they inherited from their parents. 

 

I invite you to do two things in this Season of Easter:  1) pray for the discernment and the continuing faith journey of the Eden Prairie UMC confirmation students, and 2) enter your own season of intentionally continuing to learn what it means to be a faithful disciple of the Risen Jesus.  Attend worship to hear and sing a good word.  Pray more intentionally.  Notice signs of resurrection around you.  Read the scripture stories of the encounters people had with the Risen Jesus.  Discuss your faith with others.  This is a season to dig deeper. I hope you will join me in that journey.

 

Blessings,
Pastor Becky Jo

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