A Letter from Our Pastor

An Easter Message from Bishop Laurie Skow-Anderson

May I have your attention please!

MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION for an important announcement!

MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION FOR AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT NOW PLEASE!!!!!

What do we have to do to get the world’s attention? We’ve got good news, great news, the best news, but we can’t seem to get the attention of those who need to hear it the most.

For a few years in my former parish I sent out postcards and Facebook posts hoping to catch the attention of those who weren’t members of my church and invite them to EASTER WORSHIP.

I used cute designs from OUTREACH.COM. My favorite was a photo of a fuzzy blue stuffed toy bunny with the caption: Is the true meaning of Easter a little fuzzy? On the other side of the card was an invitation to worship at Trinity, the church I served. This year they have a photo of an adorable baby wearing floppy fuzzy bunny ears and the caption reads: Have you heard the real story of Easter?  They also have a post card with the photo of a green field filled with colorful Easter eggs ready for the Easter Egg hunt. The caption reads: Hunting for more this EASTER? These clever cutesy cards are designed to get the attention of the world and invite non-members to come to their worship services. It is not a terrible idea to send a postcard in the mail or post on social media inviting people to visit your church, but it is it working? Does sending a card capture the world’s attention?

What does it take to get the attention of the world? What does it take to get the attention of the family that lives in the yellow house across the street from your church building?

Some seems to be so distracted, busy, engaged in daily living, or just getting by. Others seem anesthetized by mind numbing virtual reality activities on their computer, phone or TV screens.  A few find time to worship at the gym, yoga class, running, or biking. Sometimes I just want to yell, HEY! LISTEN UP, I’ve got good news. But I know they won’t be able to hear me over the din of daily life.

So what do we do? We know that guilting, shaming, and judging doesn’t work. Should we just…Give up. Shut up. Close up? Nope. I’m too much of an optimist for that. I think there is one thing we as a church can do that might get the world’s attention. We can sneak up and love them up.

I don’t mean sneak up like stalking, that’s illegal. What I mean is act like you love your neighbor in little ways so that eventually without you really knowing it, you DO love your neighbor and you can be in a relationship in such a way that you can invite them to know and love Jesus, the real Jesus, the Jesus of Easter.

Maybe the first step is caring enough about the folks that don’t know the story about Jesus life death and resurrection to send them a silly post card. Maybe a baby step is caring enough about the children who won’t hear the Easter story in Sunday school and inviting them to come to your church for an Easter egg hunt and before it begins tell them about Jesus in some simple way.

Maybe you could care enough to get to know the name of the church neighbor in the yellow house and who knows where it will go from there. Care enough to get to know your neighbor, the Muslim family from Somalia that lives next to the grocery store. Care enough to get to know your immigrant neighbor, the Latino family that lives across the street from the school.

Maybe the only way to get someone’s attention is to love them. That’s how God got my attention.

God sneaks up on us, loves unconditionally, loves the world so much that he gave his only Son, and on the third day he rose from the dead, so that we might have life. That’s the real meaning of Easter. That’s the good news the world is dying to hear. They just don’t know it yet. Maybe YOU can love someone enough to tell them about it.

It’s Easter. Let’s go love-in Jesus’ name,

Bishop Laurie Skow-Anderson

 

An Easter Message from Pastor Jay

“The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen.”    Luke 24:5

Dear friends in Christ,

A pastor friend of mine wrote of a man who, when engulfed in difficult life circumstances, would remind himself and others, “Easter is coming.  Easter is coming.”  It was his way of saying that we always have something to look forward to, and that troubles don’t last forever.  This small statement, “Easter is coming” can instill hope in all of us.

The Lenten season can be a long one.  Filled with self-reflection, repentance, and prayers for comfort, it is easy to get over-focused on our own needs, desires, and sins.  Often, we neglect to trust God’s guidance in this ‘wilderness’ of Lent.  But when Easter finally arrives, we are reprieved and revitalized in the exciting news that Jesus has risen! 

Easter is the pinnacle of celebrations in the church year, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  This season is so important because Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is the cornerstone upon which Christianity is built.  Believing that Jesus was raised to new life is the foremost Christian experience because it comes with a promise – new life for you and me! – new life free from our worldly trials and tribulations.

Easter gives us hope that God has forgiven us and promises to care for us eternally in heaven.  It gives us reason not to fear death, and reason to live life in the world proclaiming God’s mighty acts of love and mercy.  Easter is coming.  Easter is coming.

As you continue your faith journey through the ‘wilderness’ of Lent and find yourself getting bogged down in the difficult task of self-reflection, remind yourself, “Easter is coming.  Easter is coming.”

In Christ,

Pastor Jay