Remember those assignments we got on the first day back to school - write a paper about what you did on your vacation.  Well, I never enjoyed them or thought they'd ever be useful in real life.  Wrong again! Here's what I did on a past Easter vacation. Saturday morning the retirement home where my folks live had a breakfast and egg hunt that we attended. I've included a picture of our granddaughter, Elemmire, as the hunt was about to start. 

  The eggs were 'hidden' in the flower beds along the patio and walkways. She soon learned to pick them up and put them in her basket. She also picked up pieces of mulch that were on the concrete walkway and put them in her basket as well. This made a mixture of brightly colored eggs and black mulch in her bucket.  Everyone had a good time hunting or spectating.
 
The church that our daughter, Nicole, and her husband, Jason attend, meets in an old shopping center and is out growing the space so they have added Saturday evening services. They encouraged members to come on Saturday to make room for new folks on Easter Sunday. So we went Saturday evening, I referred to it as Easter sunset service.   They had 7 Easter services over the weekend.
 
During the service they played a video of a couple of members whose lives had been touched by Jesus. It was a touching story of drug addiction, unwed parenthood, and several other struggles. Then the video went silent and the couple began writing things like; sinner, homeless, lost on note cards. A young lady on stage began to sing the song "How can it be" as they nailed the notes to a cross on the video. It was incredibly more touching than I could hope to describe. Here are the words to the song -

I am guilty
Ashamed of what I've done, what I've become
These hands are dirty
I dare not lift them up to the Holy one

Chorus
You plead my cause, you right my wrongs
You break my chains, you overcome
You gave Your life, to give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

I've been hiding
Afraid I've let you down, inside I doubt
That You could love me
But in Your eyes there's only grace now

Chorus
You plead my cause, you right my wrongs
You break my chains, you overcome
You gave Your life, to give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

Bridge
Though I fall, You can make me new
From this death I will rise with You
Oh the grace reaching out for me
How can it be
How can it be


Chorus
You plead my cause, you right my wrongs
You break my chains, you overcome
You gave Your life, to give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be
How can it be

Publishing: © 2014 Sony ATV Timber Publishing (SESAC) / Sony ATV Timber Publishing & Open Hands Music (SESAC) / Ponies Riding Shotgun (ASCAP
Writer(s): Words and Music by Paul Mabury, Jason Ingram and Jeff Johnson

During the sermon, the Pastor asked, "How much forbidden fruit have you picked up?"  I couldn't help but think of Elemmire's bucket of eggs and mulch and wonder if the bucket of my life holds more brightly colored blessings or black forbidden fruit I picked up. 
 
All-in-all a significant spiritual moment for me.  
Russ Hoppe
Share your own Story of Faith!


We are looking to record your experiences working with Noel ministries or other activities where you've experienced God's presence. We will collect the stories and share them via email and facebook. You can send a short story to Leah Gaughan at lgaughan@noelumc.org , or email Leah for more information.

Noel Memorial United Methodist Church
520 Herndon St., Shreveport, Louisiana 71101
318-221-5207