Dear Easter People,

Back in 1993, while walking through Tyrone Square Mall in St. Petersburg, I saw my first Magic Eye 3D image. Or at least I tried to see it.

In case you’d never heard of them, Magic Eye 3D images are computer-generated pictures that on the surface, appear to be little more than colorful repeating patterns of lines and shapes. But if you stare at them long enough in a certain way, you begin to see an amazing, three-dimensional image pop out of the picture.

There was a display of them in the center of the mall that day, surrounded by a crowd of mallgoers who were captivated by them. After figuring out how to see them, I steadily moved from picture to picture, in awe of each one.

I was with a friend of mine who couldn’t figure out how to see it.

So, I did my best to explain it to them. “Okay. First you stand about three feet away from the image. Then stare into the middle of the picture, letting your eyes cross. Just a bit. Not too much. Then, let the picture get a bit fuzzy, see, so that you don’t focus on the shapes. Don’t focus on the shapes! Eventually, you’ll see patterns hidden in the shapes. And try not to blink, or you’ll lose concentration, and don’t focus on the glare in the glass, or your reflection. And whatever you do, just relax!”

Despite my yammering (or, perhaps, because of it), my friend still didn’t get it.

“Oh, just keep trying!” I exclaimed, “You’ve gotta see this!”

To which my friend, now more disgruntled with me than with their inability to see the image, responded sternly: “I don’t … gotta … do anything.”

I deserved that.

DOUBTING THOMAS

I imagine that a similar scene unfolded soon after the resurrected Jesus had appeared to all the remaining disciples except for Thomas. They must have peppered him for a full week. “C’mon, Thomas! We saw it with our own eyes! You’ll have to believe us! And you can believe it, too.”

“You’ve gotta see this!”

If we’re honest, there is a bit of Thomas in each of us. There is much about the Christian faith that we don’t understand, can’t figure out, and find hard to believe. But as we will discover this Sunday, when we begin a new worship series titled “A New Creation,” Jesus meets us right where we are. Jesus meets us at the point of our doubts and skepticism, and offers a personal, intimate experience of the resurrection for ourselves.

See you Sunday, online or indoors!

(Oh, and did you figure out the 3D image in the headline graphic? Let me know!)

Grace and peace,

Magrey

The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist

POP-UP VACCINATION SITE
We received this message from Mayor Jane Castor, who attends our church, and she has asked us to share it with our congregation. It is regarding a pop-up vaccination site in the city this Sunday: “There will be a pop-up vaccination site at 702 S Albany this Sunday. It will distribute 400 Johnson & Johnson vaccines to persons 18 and older. It will begin at 10am until all the vaccine has been distributed.” For more information, visit our website.

COMMUNION THIS SUNDAY
We will be observing Communion as part of our return to indoor worship at 9:30 a.m. this Sunday. We will also be sharing Communion during our online services, so you can choose to have bread or crackers and grape juice or wine in front of you. If you wish, you can also drive to the campus after the 11 a.m. service for drive-through Communion.

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