Grace and peace to you in the name of the One who makes all things new, as we move into the season of Spring, and from the season of Lent into the season of Easter.
Throughout Lent, we have been exploring “Faces at the Cross” – some of the many who were there with Jesus in the events in Holy Week, on those last six days that Jesus spent in Jerusalem, on his way to the cross at Calvary. Rev. John Gould led us in considering “Those Who Were in Charge.” We looked at “Those Who Were Seekers” and “Those Who Were Sinners.” JJ Warren (a young adult leader in our Conference) helped us take a new look at “Those Who Were Villains,” and on Sunday, April 2, our District Superintendent will lead us in considering “Those Who Loved.” The season of Lent concludes with the beginning of Holy Week on Palm/Passion Sunday, April 9.
Looking closely at “Faces at the Cross” might well make us uncomfortable, for sometimes in those faces, we see glimpses of our own. And why shouldn’t we? As Jesus lived, died, and rose again for us, so did he first for them – all of them. Seekers and sinners, believers and doubters, followers and betrayers, lovers and haters, those who were powerful and those who were powerless – Jesus lived, died, and rose again for all who met him at the cross – early on, mid-way, and at the very end.
This particular Lenten season has become deeply and personally meaningful for me and my family. God’s promise of life eternal as we receive it in the death and resurrection of Jesus is sustaining us as we grieve the end of my father’s earthly life, and the loss of his physical presence from among us on Monday, March 13. We have felt bathed in the thoughts, prayers, and love of our sisters and brothers in Christ here at CUMC, and across the United Methodist Connection. Please receive our grateful and humble thanks for the many ways you have expressed your care, concern, and love.
I am even more grateful than ever that the Easter message is one of resurrection! And grateful that the joyous Easter message of resurrection is both for us as individuals and for us collectively as a church – as a faith community. Just as we celebrate the Easter promise for our own lives and the lives of our loved ones, we celebrate the Easter promise for our church. We are called by God to be “The Resurrected Church” – a fact that we will lift up and celebrate when we gather to worship and praise God together on Easter Sunday!
May our prayer for the Easter season be this: God, let us be a people who believe in the power of the resurrected Christ to lead us and guide us in the ways in which we should live. And then let us go out to greet and love our neighbors with eyes wide open, hearts, minds wide open, and hearts wide open. Amen!!