Easter Sunday worship may be one of the most predictable services in the year. We know the story. We know the songs. We know that egg hunts and families meals are par for the course.
But the first Easter was anything but predictable. Sure, Jesus had given plenty of heads-up about what was coming, including the horror of Good Friday. But the empty tomb was a shocking event that jarred the first followers of Jesus to the core, causing them to reevaluate everything they thought about themselves, the world, and God.
This year, we gathered with two dozen new friends on Easter evening, shared a lavish meal, and talked through Mary Magdalene's experience in the garden that first Easter morning. And there with us were a handful of people who have had no faith in Jesus but who were considering what their reaction would be if Jesus were to speak their name, just as he had spoken Mary's name. The evening was wonderfully unpredictable.
Because of the unassuming and hospitable nature of our evening Table gatherings, we have had non-Christians join us several times in our new group in Sisters, something we struggled to have happen with our previous groups in Bend. We are also getting to the point where the house we are meeting in will not be able to contain everyone who comes. We are also receiving inquiries from others outside of the group about when we will start a weekly worship gathering.
So, we are in need of wisdom as to when to create a second Table group and when to launch weekly worship. As conversations looking toward that take place, I invite you to pray with us about it.
As Easter shows us, God brings new and wonderful things through unexpected means. We want to keep as close to him as possible as we step into what's next.
So, here are some house-keeping details.
We had a drop-off of financial support last year because of non-renewals and credit card donation glitches. The switch over from ECO receiving donations for The Table and receiving them through out new Square site hasn't worked so well. If you would like to use the Square site, click HERE. I haven't been able to figure out repeat donations yet. But I hope to have that option up and running on the site soon.
There was some concern about my relationship with ECO because of what I'd written in December. That was just poor writing on my part. The relationship is great. I had a chance to spend time with ECO leaders in January and they are 100% behind us.
To make up for support short-fall, I have taken on some outside work, drawing on my writing and editing skills. Along with continuing to blog on my own site (check out & subscribe to petesantucci.com if you haven't already; I promise that it's good!), I have been hired on a very part-time basis to oversee a collective blog at EverydayTheology.life. Setting that up has been a blast! I've also been hired to do some writing for a website for brand new parents. So, 11 years after our 4th kid was born, I've become an expert on all things to do with newborns again. I'm guessing it'll pay off when I become a grandparent (many years from now!). I've also been hired to edit a children's book and have a couple other writing gigs lined up down the road.
So, if there are any other writing or editing gigs I can do from a distance, please let me know. Also, I am exploring adding in some pastoral coaching as another sideline.
This doesn't mean that I'm any less invested in The Table. If I'd given up on The Table, I would be looking for a full-time job. It just means that I am using the talents God has given me to support the call he has laid on me. We have a small, tight budget, use Obamacare for our medical, and haven't put anything into retirement since moving to Bend, but God continues to take care of us and to see his mission furthered through us. So, we joyfully press on, thanking our Lord for your partnership with us and what he's doing in lives in both Sisters and Bend.
For more from Pete Santucci visit his website: www.petesantucci.com