Pastor Sally's Easter message
When small groups gather to talk and to share, the Holy Spirit comes alive in moving and inspiring ways. Certainly this is the case each Friday morning when the Bible Study group meets! And so it was also at the February All-Boards meeting (actually, just the Deacons and Trustees).
Every month when our Boards gather to do their individual work, we set aside 6:30 – 7:00 pm to meet all together for devotions, announcements, and conversation. At the February meeting, we used Scripture and our Church Covenant as the basis for our devotions. (See the Church Covenant following this article) I asked those who attended how the readings, in particular the Church Covenant, inform and shape their leadership and their understanding of the church. The discussion which ensued reflected a true Resurrection spirit!
“The Church Covenant helps me see the importance of bringing the church’s ministry into the local community, rather than having the community come to us. How can we develop a greater presence of ministry – serving those in need - in the community?”
“The Church Covenant reminds me that we, as a church, need to pay greater attention to global concerns and people around the world who are struggling. How can we work on this?
“I am struck by the concluding words of the Church Covenant – ‘trusting in an unknown future’. We are called as a church to address community and societal questions even though the future is unknown. How can we best do this?
“I am always moved by the words, ‘whatever it may cost us’. Do we take this seriously as a church?”
Talk about a “wow!” This is vision in action. These comments and so many others on that evening were inspiring. And to further witness to the Holy Spirit moving in our midst, when the group of 12 met for worship on the snowy, arctic Sunday – February 14 – even more spontaneous discussion arose with fabulous ideas about community projects.
These moments show how blessed and wonderful it is when we come together in small groups to reflect on our faith and on the church. But, even more importantly, these comments reveal that our faith is calling us to truly become “a church without walls;” to become a visible, transformative, healing, empoweringpresence in the community; to pay attention to the wider world; and to do all of this trusting in God’s guidance and love through the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the “Resurrection” spirit. This is Christ alive in us and in the church yearning to bring hope, healing and justice to the community and world.
“Resurrection:” this is, literally, what Easter is all about. We celebrate Easter because we celebrate how those first disciples experienced Christ alive after the crucifixion. I mentioned in the February PV that Easter is a “movable feast.” This suggests that Resurrection is a possibility every day: that every day brings you, in your life, a possibility for healing, a new beginning, a strengthened faith. God’s love for you is so great that God reaches out to you to restore, refresh, and renew. And, Easter also suggests that every day holds within it the possibility of “resurrecting” our church without walls following the teaching and ministry of Jesus – the Resurrected One. That is, every day we are called on to see how we can more proactively become witnesses to healing and new beginnings; witnesses to renewed, strengthened, and transformed lives in the community and the world around us. The Resurrection spirit – Christ alive -- is not something we keep to our individual lives. It calls out to be shared with the community and world, “whatever it may cost us.”
Of course, in order to experience Resurrection and the joy of Easter, we must navigate the events of Holy Week – from Palm Sunday through Holy Saturday. We walk with Jesus, we feel the pain and despair of the disciples, we realize that we, also, participate too frequently in “crucifying” Christ’s spirit of healing, love, and justice. We need God’s grace and forgiveness. And so, we are eager to be refreshed with the hope and joy that awaits us on Easter morning! And God wants us to share the joy of Resurrection with the world.
May Easter joy sustain and uplift you each day. And may Easter joy guide you – and all of us together as church – to be bearers of blessing, justice, mercy, love, peace, hope, and joy.
Easter blessing and love, Sally