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April 2019

posted Apr 1, 2019, 9:27 AM by Christine Rice

Dear Friends in Christ,

            It’s probably a good thing Easter is later in April this year, since winter held on so long.  I don’t know if there will be any daffodils or tulips by April 21st.  Flowers are certainly beautiful and signal spring time, but the resurrection of our Lord Jesus is in no way dependent upon flowers blooming.

            During the first weeks of April we are still on our Lenten journey.  During Lent we continue to struggle against everything that leads us away from the love of God and the love of neighbor.  Prayer, fasting, giving alms, repentance, worship, Bible study and works of love all help us to do this. 

            On Palm/Passion Sunday, April 14th this year, we begin holy week together.  We are nearing the end of our Lenten pilgrimage and are coming to the main things of our Christian faith: the suffering, death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.  On Palm/Passion Sunday we remember that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a humble beast of burden and people spread branches and cloaks on the road to welcome him as king.  We exclaim with the disciples and the crowd, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest heaven!” Luke 19:38.  And we hear the Passion of our Lord, the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus, according to Luke’s Gospel.

            On Maundy Thursday, April 18th this year, we remember that Jesus gave his followers a new command, a new mandate (hence—“Maundy”): “Love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” John 13:34.  Then Jesus humbly washed his disciples’ feet and bids all his followers to humbly serve one another in love. As Jesus ate the Passover meal with his disciples, he was celebrating the Jewish Passover Seder meal of liberation and freedom with his friends.  But Jesus gave it new meaning when he took the bread and said, “Take and eat, this is my body.” And then he took the cup of wine and said, “This is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.  Do this in remembrance of me.”

            On Good Friday, April 19th this year, we remember with sorrow and gratitude that Jesus died on the cross to forgive our sins and the sins of the whole world.  Good Friday is often called the Great Day of Atonement:  at-one-ment.  We were all out of tune with God our Maker, but Jesus, God’s own Son, has made us one again with God through the sacrifice of himself on the cross.  Thanks be to God!

            Having journeyed with Jesus through his suffering and death, we are then ready to fully celebrate the day that changed the whole world forever:  the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  This year, resurrection day, falls on Sunday April 21st.  We rejoice with the women at the empty tomb as the angels tell them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.  Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”  Luke 24:5-7.

            On Easter Sunday, The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus, we exclaim with all the faithful of every land and time, “Christ is risen!  He is risen, indeed!”  We pull out all the stops and celebrate with great music and banners and flowers and the Word and the Lord’s Supper and even breakfast.  And then we keep on celebrating the greatest news ever for a full 7 weeks of Eastertide and with a “little Easter” on every Sunday.

                      

Christ has died!   Christ is risen!  Christ will come again!                 

Pastor Dennis

 

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