Easter Greetings to everyone! Hopefully you got a chance to either see the Facebook Live steam of the service or the video now on YouTube. For those of you who saw the service, I really am fine after missing the stool for the children's sermon. With the robe on, I hit that balance point of over-extension and gravity did it's thing. It was like slipping on the ice, except I knew people were watching! Next time I will practice.
With future services we will return to recording the service and have them available early each Sunday morning. That way everyone can watch it when they want, and if I read the wrong Gospel, we can edit! We missed having everyone together this morning but were glad for the "presence" of some who would not otherwise have been able to join us. Thanks to Gail for her tech work, Joyce for playing organ, and Cindy for being assisting minister. Peace to you all and prayers for our families and healthcare and essential employees who interact with the public these days.
Alleluia, The Lord is risen!
Think back to a moment in which your life changed for good, a moment requiring a new commitment. Perhaps marriage, or childbirth, or moving some distance. Choosing one job over another. Maybe you rediscovered your faith and realized you had to make some changes.
Were you afraid? Was it hard to commit? If we are honest, milestones are stressful, uncertain times. We never know until later how it will turn out.
When Jesus was born to Mary, she and Joseph had a desperate hope living in a cruel, unjust world.
And when the women disciples and then the men found that Jesus was not dead but alive, they were afraid, stunned, and excited that it wasn’t all over. Jesus was alive and the Good News would go on. But it was no easy time for them. It upended their whole world--upsetting everything they assumed and valued.
Even though Jesus was alive, forever gone was the instant response, the clear cut answer. Now they had to pray. . . Now they had to listen to the Spirit. . . and work together. . . and trust that God was leading and would take care of everything in all their unknowing.
This year the church is having to celebrate the resurrection, the essence of our faith from a distance.
But really, this comes closer to the first morning of the resurrection than we have ever known.
What does it mean that we are a resurrection church today? As a national church we have struggled with finances and dwindling numbers for some time. Our faith is in the risen Christ but we tend to assume we can take care of our own problems. We try but we have so many resources, we barely know how to trust. Paying as you go is not faith. Trusting as you go—that is faith.
The resurrection is not mostly about what happens when we die. Resurrection is how we live today by faith. For the first time in a long time, our nation is aware of how fragile is our life. Faith in Christ’s resurrection—Alive! and Present! But only by faith. Only by prayer. Only by humble silence and listening. We cannot talk our way out of this. Our only way forward is to entrust our economy, our life into the hands of God and to make room for everyone at the table.
Today, the invitation is to look deeply into the risen savior’s eyes, touch his wounds. Listen to his call to love, to care, to be open to a new way of living and relating to our neighbors, the ones who live next door, and on the other side of town, and on the other side of the world.
Jesus’ resurrection sets us free to trust the eternal welcome of God. No need to fear anything or anyone.
Alleluia! The Lord is risen!
Roy Stetler Pastor, Quickel Evangelical Lutheran Church Zion View/York, Pennsylvania 717.350.5057