Church Closes Doors One Week After Easter

The church building was full just seven days ago. Holy Week prior bustled with the activity of traditional Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. Saturday brought smiles and laughter of children at the annual community Easter event.

And yet — this Sunday just one week post-Easter, arrive at the same church building and you’ll find the doors locked, lights turned off, and the parking lot empty. What’s behind such a radical 360, from full to empty? Last week the message of the empty tomb, this week the oddity of an empty building.

What’s happened?

Has there been some great tragedy OR is there some greater purpose? Is it another reminder of the sad decline of American “church going” OR could it be something far different? Could it be an emergence and expression of outside the box thinking? Could it be the retelling of the Easter story, a story of seeming tragedy, yet unveiling the greatest story of triumph ever told!

I was reminded this week by my friends Ryan & Laura Hairston who just moved their young family to NYC to live out the good news of Jesus that, “We don’t like risk! And even though the frontiers of spiritual growth require it, we prefer to avoid it. Not only would we like to have the frontiers of the spirit scouted out for us, we would also like to have the frontier fully tamed and settled…We prefer comfortable safety to risk.” ~ Howard R. Macy, “Rhythms of the Inner Life

From my first encounters with Pastor Mary Beth of Vista Ridge United Methodist Church, I was drawn to her vibe of gospel riskiness and that of the church! And is it any wonder that this “frontier mentality” has NOT resulted in the largest church congregation. However, as demonstrated time and again in local schools, and food banks, and senior adult homes, and in homeless/displaced populations — an extravagant gift of love and service and community impact.

And so I found it of NO surprise that following Easter, the largest attendance Sunday of the year, the very next Sunday the church will close the doors of the church building, go “outside the box” and invite the community to gather at Lewisville’s Central Park for a day of outdoor worship, food, fun and re-telling of the hope of Jesus!

To that I say, yay God, yay Vista Ridge, and yay for “risking” closing the doors of the building in order to open the doors of the church!

I hope to see you at Central Park on Sunday!

Jim

PS – For more information on this gathering and other community ministry of VRUMC click of this link: https://www.vistaridgeumc.org

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