Dear Church Family,
Easter was amazing! Wonderful music, people returning to in person worship, and a beautiful day for sharing the message of Hope and New Life. It was so different than last year when we were not able to gather in person. New Life is happening all around us.
In my message on Easter Sunday, I shared the Story of Mary going to the tomb in the darkness. Her response to the death of Jesus was to follow the tradition and go to prepare his body, to honor him in death. The gospel of John shares that she went in the darkness of her grief and didn’t understand at first what was happening. It was only after Jesus spoke her name that she recognized him. Like Mary, sometimes it is hard for us to see Jesus even when he is standing in front of us, but if we listen God is calling our name.
This year I’m also leaning into the different responses of Peter and Judas to their denials of Jesus. Judas sold Jesus out and then took his money and in the darkness of the night when he was all alone took his own life. Peter, who denied knowing Jesus and left town afraid and scared even after the reports of the women, went back to fishing with his friends. It was what he was doing when Jesus first called him. While fishing he hears the voice of Jesus calling him and he jumps out of the boat to join Jesus for Breakfast. Jesus not only forgives Peter but he calls him to feed his sheep.
We are told in the Gospel of Luke about two other disciples who were heading out of town when they encountered a stranger on the road. In the course of their conversation they invite the stranger in for a meal at the Emmaus Inn. As they are preparing to eat, in the giving of thanks for the food and the breaking of the bread their eyes are opened to the presence of Jesus.
The stories remind us that we may face challenging and difficult times. We might even deny Jesus or our faith, but Jesus still shows up and invites us back into a relationship because of his love and grace for us. Easter is as much about opening our eyes, ears, hearts and lives to see and hear the voice of God calling us moving our hearts into a relationship of love and grace. How are you listening for the voice of Jesus? How are you responding to his call to new life this Easter? Like Peter we are being called to feed his sheep. We are not only loved and forgiven, but called to love and serve.
I pray you will join me in a season of renewing our call to follow the voice of Jesus that is calling us out of our darkness and into new life.