Friday, January 26, 2018

Easter 2018 is April 1

In our twenties, Pam and I loved in an apartment in Nassau Bay, Texas, about 20 miles Southeast of Houston. 

I worked at NASA's Manned Spacecraft Center for McDonnell Douglas as a Skylab checklist writer, systems engineer, and crew (astronauts) trainer. Halfway between our apartment and the gate to NASA was (and still is) Gloria Dei Lutheran Church (Mo Synod). Rev. Leo Symmank was the pastor then...and he still lives in the area, where he is mostly retired but occasionally fills pulpits around TX. The altar at the small Gloria Dei church was in the middle of six rows of chairs that encircled it, with the pulpit to one side. We liked Rev. Symmank and his ministry and although we were not Lutheran, we were involved with the church...we even taught Sunday School classes and unofficially were the Youth Group leaders which we called The Mustard Seed; the teens would come to our apartment for fun activities and Bible studies. 

Here's a letter I recently wrote to Rev. Symmank.

Dear Leo*,

Pam just told me that the Sunday you have longed to preach on is this EASTER. It’s April 1. 

I have told the story of you preaching on a Sunday at Gloria Dei in Nassau Bay, TX that was close to April 1 back in the 70s. It was Easter. Remember that?

You have to dig that sermon out and preach it again this year, record it and send it to us. Please. Please.  It was one of those sermons one never forgets.

As I recall it was the Easter Sunday of the Church picnic. You mounted the pulpit and began to preach. You said something like this.

Well, it’s a beautiful day outside. And today is the Church picnic. I can smell the casseroles sitting out in the hall way, plugged into the wall. So, I think we’ll just dispense with the sermon today and get out early and enjoy the picnic. You got down out of the pulpit….walked to the altar to pray over the Eucharistic elements…and then you suddenly stopped. Something was wrong. I still recall the look on your face. It was sheer delight and surprise. You raised your arms with a big smile on your face you yelled,  “APRIL FOOLS.”

You then DID preach a wonderful sermon about how when the women and apostles came to Christ’s tomb on Sunday the angel’s said to them, “April Fools. He’s not here. He is risen.” 

Preachers all over the world need to do that this Easter.

WOW! I’m going to pass the word and give you credit.


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