Pastor's E-Letter

Pastor's E-Letter

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Living in the Awareness of the Resurrection

Every year, after the major holidays, I have a “crash” moment. The adrenaline of Holy Week and Christmas, and even other large work events, pass me by, and I am left, exhausted, grateful, and emotional in its wake. The first time, I was surprised. By now, I know to keep a little extra chocolate on hand and get extra sleep in those first few days after the “big day.” All is usually well pretty quickly. 

 On Easter Sunday, we read a Gospel that reflects that “crash moment,” pretty well. The empty tomb happens, and then things just… end. Crash, indeed. But Pastor Annette and I both mentioned that this should signal to us the ways that Jesus is showing up “out on the road,” ahead of the disciples. We are the evidence that the Gospel has continued, whether we’ve ever imagined ourselves that way or not. 

 What my body never really remembers after the big “crash” is that the truth of that big day is still true, even if the candy is gone and I’ve packed away my Easter dress. This is the gift, even in this moment of “crash” or no more Easter sugar: we are living in the light of the resurrected Christ! We are living in the light of a Jesus who goes ahead of us. We are living in the light of a Christ who has defeated death, even amid the darkness of our world. Easter is real! Jesus is alive! This is good news! The reliability of the “crash” cannot hold any weight when we remember that God is alive already in our world, and will continue to be! 

 Brennan Manning says, 

 “Living in the awareness of the risen Jesus is not a trivial pursuit for the bored and lonely or a defense mechanism enabling us to cope with the stress and sorrow of life. It is the key that unlocks the door to grasping the meaning of existence. All-day and every day we are being reshaped into the image of Christ. Everything that happens to us is designed to this end. Nothing that exists can exist beyond the pale of his presence, nothing is irrelevant to it, nothing is without significance in it.” 

 This Sunday in Worship we will explore how the Resurrection is the key to our discipleship. If we are an Easter people we should act like it, right? We should really, truly be God’s love to a world that desperately needs it. In John 20, the disciples truly begin to live the resurrection as they seek to understand Jesus’ appearance among them. They learn that God has risen, and can be trusted to lead them into the ministry that Jesus began in them. God has gone ahead of them and empowers them 

 I am grateful that the resurrection doesn’t depend on me and my adrenaline. I am also grateful that it is always waiting for me to join it, even after I’ve eaten all my Easter candy and taken a few extra naps.

 May you feel inspired to join it, too.

Pastor Allee

Posted by Allee Willcox with

The Healing Power of Walking on the Beach

I haven’t been to the beach in a long while. My weekends have been so full of work and “things” that I’ve missed the balm that a beach walk can be for my soul. So, yesterday, I carved out time at the end of the day to go and walk. 

As soon as I arrived and began to walk along the shore, I realized how much I needed to be there, to let my mind and heart rest in the beauty of the sea and the shore which always takes me to the beauty and immensity of God’s love and grace. And my mind wandered back to a similar beach walk one year ago, during Holy Week. It was such a strange time. We were in the early days of navigating a whole new way of living – staying home, remaining socially distant and wearing masks when we had to go out, ordering groceries and take out from home as much as possible, living with the uncertainty of who might get sick and when, and the uncertainty of how long life would continue in this way. As I walked, I realized how hard it is for me to believe that we have lived like this for a year.

But what a difference a year makes. Clearly, the pandemic is not over. But as I wrote in a previous E-Letter a few weeks ago, we can see the end in sight. We can see the hope of a return to “normal” life (whatever that means today) on the horizon. As I walked this week, I marveled at all that has changed, especially the gift of a vaccine that is ushering in a new day. And I marveled once again at the way God has been our sure anchor, tethering us to the horizon of hope, as we were tossed by the wind and waves of uncertainty, fear, and anxiety.

Now, as we make the journey that is Holy Week, a journey which takes us from the Hosanna’s of Palm Sunday to a basin and a towel, to a celebratory dinner with friends, to a garden for prayer, to a cross on a hill called Calvary, we continue to anchor ourselves in the hope that stretches out before us on the horizon, the hope found in an empty tomb and a resurrected Jesus that promises a new day and a new life. It is a week of highs and lows, of beauty and betrayal. But it is also a week that will lead us from the ashes and dust of our lives to the real, abundant, joy-soaked life of Easter morning. It is a week that has the power to heal us, to change us, to renew us, and bring us back to life.

I pray you are finding ways to make the journey and discover the gifts of grace and healing God has for you along the way. I pray you will walk with Jesus to the end. Attend worship in-person or online. Take some time to experience our outdoor stations of the cross. Spend time in prayer and reflection, reading the story of Jesus’ last days in the Gospel of Mark. Give thanks for the ways that God has been your anchor and hope in this last year. Give thanks for the hope and healing that is on the horizon.

And I pray you will join us, and maybe even invite a friend to join us, for worship on Easter Sunday, whether it is for outdoor worship, indoor, in-person worship (please make a reservation), or online worship. The Son is rising even now on our long darkness. We have so much to celebrate! So, much for which to give thanks because God is good, all the time! And all the time, God is indeed good!

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Annette

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