April 11, 2017
Easter is nearly here! This Lenten season has seemed unusually long. The combination of endlessly gray and rainy Northwest weather, our nation’s political situation and the horrors and instability around the world have proven difficult to bear. All this, on top of our individual struggles, has made a long and dark Lenten season for many. Easter’s promise of resurrection can’t come fast enough.
And yet, every year, it comes. The rhythm of the church calendar brings us out of the despair of Good Friday and showers us with the hope of Easter. As Christians, we are called to practice resurrection, to live resurrection, to be agents of transformation and hope in the world.
I am mindful of ways Plymouth has practiced resurrection the past few months. Worship, under the able leadership and dynamic preaching of Rev. Kelle Brown, reflects the reality of the world we live in while calling us to hope and action for something more. The 9 am Lenten worship service has incorporated contemplative practice into our faith lives, and taught people of all ages a powerful way to pray for and take care of one another.
Rev. Steven Davis lifted a powerful story of transformation when he shared the story of one of our children so moved by the invitation to give to the Roots shelter for young adults experiencing homelessness that the child added his box of Cheez-Its to the offering plate. Lenten neighborhood gatherings gave us opportunities to gather in small groups to deepen relationships as we explore how we express our faith in the world. During our Faith and Life Hour, Rev. Stephen Sinclair, Patrick September and Beth Paul-Russell testified to the power of resurrection in their lives; hear their faith journeys here.
Our commitment to social justice remains strong, especially in areas of immigration and institutionalized racism. A renewed and renewing spirit is upon us. Thanks be to God.
Easter reminds us once again that death and despair never have the last word. The spirit of Jesus is alive and on the loose when it seemed that all was lost.
This poem, by Pastor Chris Neufeld-Erdman, says it well:
The pain of our Good Fridays
still lingers among us.
We still dwell inside the long waiting
of our Holy Saturdays.
Old wounds hold us in calloused hearts.
Ancient histories mold our souls in fear.
New worries drag us toward the abyss of dread.
Yet, Easter comes our way again.
and we are awakened to a new day
of hope and possibility.
Christ is raised.
Life bursts forth again.
Angels sing, creation dances, and the oppressed find their voices.
The poor find reason to hope,
neighbors come together in acts of justice,
and tyrants gather to put down the insurrection.
But Eastered again by your Spirit of life
we dare to trust a different future for all.
Eastered again we open ourselves to possibilities never imagined,
new opportunities we’ve not yet dared to dream.
Eastered again, we pledge ourselves to live Resurrection—
to live unshamed, unfettered by guilt;
to act in boldness, unbounded by our fears;
to love without limits, disloyal to the petty prejudices and uncharitable bigotries that pervade our land.
Christ is risen!
Life has conquered!
Love knows no end!
Please join us on Sunday as we rejoice at God’s promise of resurrection and new life for all. -Jennifer Castle