Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sitting In It

There is a lot of reflection that happens in this Holy Week. I think as humans we like to go from the joy and waving of palms on Palm Sunday, to the celebration on Easter Sunday. However, if we don’t walk through all of Holy Week, through Jesus’ last Supper with his disciples, to all of the events leading up to Jesus being crucified, we miss why we sing out with all of our hearts, 'Christ the Lord has Risen Today' on Easter Sunday. But even if we come to Good Friday services and enter into the pain that Jesus endured for us, still we can leave and go on about our weekend, getting excited for Easter to come.
But this is Easter Saturday and for those first followers of Christ, all hope seemed gone, ‘It is finished’ seemed to be the end of the story. They had lost their friend, the leader, their teacher. They had held onto the hope that he was the Messiah but after the events of the crucifixion they began to doubt. Today was the day they simply sat in their grief, where hope seemed to fade and the darkness overshadowed any light.
I don’t know about your lives but in my own I have experienced different times of grief. I have had those times where it overwhelmed me, where the only choice it seemed I had was to sit in it. Sitting in grief is not a fun place to be. There is something in us that desires to see the hope, see the light for the darkness but there are times when it doesn’t come and so we dwell in it. In these Holy Saturday moments, know that God is there. Indeed we have been promised that He will never leave us or forsake us. Sometimes it is hard to trust in that promise, it seems to fade, just as it must have for those first disciples of Christ. But then Jesus showed himself to them and Jesus will show himself to us. It is a call to cling to the promises of our Savior, even when we can’t understand.
I heard a song this week by Laura Story called “Blessings” and reminded me that in those times of grief, the most profound blessings can come and that God Presence is made known. I’ve added the link to the song below.
My prayer for all of us, is that we experience the fullness of Christ’s life, death and resurrection. Spend some time sitting in the grief of the disciples and the grief that is prevalent in this world. Then trust in the promise that Sunday is coming, the Light of this world has overcome all darkness and has conquered death, for you and for me. I wish you all a very Blessed Easter.
Pastor Laura

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Got Perspective?

So many of you know by now that both Pastor Dick and Pastor Cindy will be leaving our church to go where God has called them to. It is hard for many to understand how all of this change can happen at one time. We have a lot of processing to do. We have said a lot of "goodbyes" in the last few years and we are not sure we are ready for any more. I was reading one of my devotions from the Daily Bible Verse that talked about Caleb and the spies. They were sent to go check out the Promised Land. The spies thought it looked like a losing battle; there were huge giants that were scary, no way this was going to work! Then Caleb goes and sees things from a whole new perspective. He is looking through the lens of hope, the lens of a kept promise.

I have felt for a little while now that God is doing a new thing here at Christ Church. I am excited by it. I sense a deeper level here on so many fronts. I have been excited by the various ways that people are gathering together and engaging in community. People are seeking to reach out to those they don't know and to connect. It is so easy in our lives to feel like we don't have the time or energy to engage in one more relationship but people are breaking through those excuses and seeking to live as the Body of Christ. Consequently, in these past few years and especially in these past few months, the amount of folks that are coming together to study  in various small groups has been awesome! I have witnessed people, some who have been in the church their entire lives, really wrestle with their faith and become excited about God's Word and what it means for us today.

We are ready to take the next step as the church, to step out into this new thing that God has for us. But there will be some who peer into this new territory and say, "oh no, not possible, too scary!" And there will be others that look in and say "Look what God has in store for us!"

So as we walk together in these next few months, I encourage you to think about what perspective you have. And maybe spend some time dwelling with Caleb.

From the Daily Bible Verse "In many ways, we find ourselves constantly facing a Promised Land – a place that is exciting, yet unexplored. We finally get a grip on one season of life only for it to melt into another. We understand an industry just in time for that industry to change. But each change is another opportunity for God to be glorified. It is when our hearts are wholly focused on His faithfulness that we inherit the new horizon in front of us."

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Patient Trust

For many reasons, this next few weeks is a time where I need to patiently trust the Lord. Gosh, that rolls right off the tongue but is not so easy to live out! I don't want these in-between times: between the known and the unknown. I want to push ahead; to know what is going to happen and start making plans for how those things are going to be. I think it's my way of feeling I have some control over where life is spinning to. But the fact is, I don't have control. None of us do. Further, in these "in between" times, God is molding us and making us more into the people that we are created  to be. I thought about this writing from Pierre Teilhard De Chardin. He calls them "intermediate stages." He talks about not forcing this new thing because God is doing something in the midst of it. So I share this with you today. I am trying to patiently trust God in this intermediate stage, though fully acknowledging it is a time where anxiousness can creep in.
Whatever you are facing in your life, whether you are discerning things about your future, or awaiting for what is to come next, know that you are not alone and more importantly that God is moving in the midst of it.

Patient Trust  
By Pierre Teilhard De Chardin

Above all, trust in the slow work of God
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
      to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
      unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of progress
      that it is made by passing through
      some states of instability ---
      and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you.
      Your ideas mature gradually --- let them grow,
      let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don't try to force them on,
      as though you could be today what time
      (that is to say, grace and cirsumstances
      acting on your own good will)
      will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
      gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
      that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
      in suspense and incomplete.