notes on california 1

our easter experience began with the unexpected blessing of sharing it with two of my dear friends, kate and hannah, and hannah's boyfriend todd. it was such a gift for us to worship with these friends so dear to us, standing together in an outdoor amphitheatre with thousands of others who had gathered to celebrate God's victory over sin and death in the resurrection joy of jesus. we clapped our hands, danced our feet, and raised our hands heavenward in one great worship collective.

and worship, we did. our lead pastor, todd proctor, has a gift for leading people to the feet of jesus in this way. we sang songs of celebration and joy and freedom, and we honored God for who he is.

but we worshipped through more than mere song. rock harbor artists, in the way only they can do, created a symbolic offering of dance and rhythm to communicate the fall and redemption of man, and the power of this visual story caused tears to drop down my cheeks.

then a young man named rudy stood on the stage and told the story of his many years' struggle with cancer, spinal meningitis, and hearing loss with sign language and the help of our teaching pastor, mike erre. after signing his story for us with the help of mike's voice to tell it, rudy took the microphone into his own hands and offered his final words with a muted voice so precious and vulnerable that tears coursed down my cheeks once more.

hearing rudy's voice, then receiving mike's message about our need for the compassion of jesus, and then singing a song that praises God as the defender of the weak and the comfort of those in need . . . all of this made me feel i had come home. i realized that i am indeed already on the path God has laid out before me. i saw yet again that this jar of clay that is my life is a mere vessel to receive the infilling of God's own Spirit to accomplish his own purposes: the binding up of the brokenhearted, the setting free of those held captive, the restoring of sight to the blind.

i felt in a flash that the work of this journey has already been accomplished, that as i stood there in orange county on that sunday, a part of this body collective, one mere worker in the fields of harvest, one mere learner along the road, i am already home.