So, its Easter Sunday. Jesus has risen from the grave. We celebrate that all across the world today.
This morning I left my house at about 2:30AM to drive to the church. At the church I got equipment to take to a bayside park where we will hold a 6:30AM sunrise service.
This year I was happier than ever about Easter Sunday. I’ve gone through a lot this year… both physically and spiritually. I also participated in a Lent fast for the first time this year. Getting to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection was overwhelming this morning. I was filled with a joy that I hadn’t really experienced in a long time.
So, I drove to the church this morning, through a heavy fog with the windows down listening to songs celebrating the victory Christ won for us through his death and resurrection. I was so happy.
In between my house and the church is what some people would call “The bad part of town”. There is this area along Martin Luther King Jr Blvd that is dotted with houses that are falling apart, run down businesses, and people walking around everywhere. This is the part of town that a lot of privileged white people, like myself, don’t often go through… much less stop in. I can only think of one time in my entire life that I have gone anywhere in this neighborhood… and I have lived here for 25 years.
On MLK Blvd there is this haphazard night club that looks frightening. The building is painted black. It is not the kind of place that you would want to go by yourself at night.
This morning, through the heavy fog, I drove past this place. It’s called “KJ’s”. Out in front of KJ’s there were dozens and dozens of people standing around. In fact, because of the fog, I was a little startled by the mass that was pouring out into the streets. In the joy of Christ I thought to myself, “It’s a shame that these people aren’t as excited about the resurrection as I get to be.” I even thought about (though I would never actually do it) shouting “He is risen!” just for kicks.
I kept driving. I kept singing joyful songs.
But then, God punched me in the stomach.
I passed a woman standing on the side of the road alone. I thought to myself “why would a woman be out by herself in this part of town at 3AM?” Then it hit me.
She was a prostitute.
I started weeping immediately… and continued to do so for the rest of the drive.
The world is a broken place. On Easter American churches gather in the “good part of town” to hold worship services in a safe environment. We celebrate the power that Jesus had over death. We say “He is risen!” and sing songs about it. Though we should be happy and thankful by this fact, we can not forget…
We live in a world that desperately needs resurrection. There are people who stay out at night clubs chasing sex, drugs, and alcohol. There are women who sell themselves on the streets so that they can support their children, drug habits, or both. There are starving children in your city.
While we are celebrating this morning do not forget… God has called us into the world to bring the good news of resurrection. He has won the victory over sin and death. He has set the captive free and has brought sight to the blind. He has healed the drug addict and told the prostitute that she is worth so much more than the handful of dirty bills that she gets for selling her body. People need to hear that. People need freedom.
And there is a good chance a lot of those people aren’t going to find the time to make it to your church this morning.