Every month, one of our pastors writes an article for the congregation as part of our newsletter entitled The Advance. Below is the article from May 2014:
From the Pastor
Judy waved at the Fat Boy Restaurant as she passed it on her way out of town this morning (Wednesday, April 16). She knew where I was, the men were having breakfast on the “Third Wedneday.” I didn’t see her do it, but Dave Vande Kopple saw the wave. Sarah was driving her to the airport to catch a flight to Richmond, VA. Our other daughter, Lisa, is having surgery tomorrow. So she will be the parental presence this weekend.
I am told frequently that there is little cause for concern, regarding the surgery; except that it is our daughter, and, even if it is a non-aggressive, highly treatable cancer, it still is the big “C” to a parent.
This Easter is thus different from the Easter we had hoped to celebrate. It’s not the first time we have celebrated Easter separately. I was deployed to a combat zone for four Easters during our marriage. We made adjustments of the “important” stuff. For instance, the traditional Easter-egg-dyeing-and-cookie-making-Mother/Daughter-bonding events happened before Judy left.
So Easter is different. That’s life! In fact, that is the point. Easter is different every year! How we face Easter this, or any other, year is by finding an answer to this question: How does the resurrection impact our life today? Every year we should consider the impact of resurrection faith upon the challenges we face.
It has always been the Easter challenge, from the first one, when the witnesses to the empty tomb didn’t know what to think, all the way up to Easter 2014. Today, some of our friends are suffering from poor health. Some will observe the first holiday without their spouses after decades of being together. Some are concerned about the world political order and others are looking for work. The task is the same: application of the Easter message to make it real in our lives. An empty tomb can “house” a great range of interpretation from the feeling of abandonment to a profound sense of hope that God’s work is ongoing. Nothing conquers God! Our interpretation of the Easter scene can easily be influenced by what we experience in our current situation. But we should reverse that outlook and let the view of our current situation be influenced by the Easter story.
For me, Easter must proclaim that nothing can separate me—or my daughter—from the love of God in Christ Jesus. There is nothing that God can’t breathe life into! The future may be uncertain and different from what we had hoped. But we must proclaim the second part of the message of the angel at the tomb. We must go from “He is not here!” to “He is risen!” and “He is going ahead of you to Galilee” (Matthew 28:6-7). That last statement means that Jesus is taking his risen self to their hometown. The risen Christ is no passing spectacle. It speaks to today. Easter is less about what happened and more about what happens now.
Has your life changed since last year? Are you graduating and moving on to something else? Whatever changes occurred, are you ready for the new world that you will either walk into or be “cast” into? You have to answer those questions for yourselves, but you can start by saying that Jesus will be going ahead of you to be where you live!