A Word from Pastor Anne
Is it already a month after Easter? What a glorious worship we had that morning. And now what, is it life back to normal? What difference does Jesus rising from the dead make in your life?
Many of us have lost loved ones. Imagine going to the cemetery and finding their grave or crypt wide open. You remember the sadness of seeing their body or ashes being placed. The awareness that they are no longer here in this life. I would assume that an open grave means something bad, something creepy. It is like being in a horror movie with scary music is playing in the background.
Seeing your loved one up and moving around like before, or even better, would be a big shock and really confusing. I might say, “Hey, aren’t you dead?” I would want to check and see if it really is them. Do they know things only they could know? Do they do things they used to do? Can I touch them?
We may want our loved ones to live longer with us in this life but we will all physically die one day. What Jesus’ resurrection tells us is that there is more to life than this physical world. Our final resting place is not some cemetery. Instead our final home can be with Jesus in His Father’s house, a heavenly home.
I believe this to be true not just from what we read in the Bible and the witness of the disciples. I believe this because of the ongoing witness of the church and billions of Jesus’ followers worldwide more than 2000 years later. I believe this because I have experienced hope and peace in Jesus and living among his followers. I have experienced God’s supernatural presence leading, loving and guiding.
Each year at Easter we get to remember and reflect on what Jesus’ death and resurrection means in our lives. One of our favorite quotes at SAINT PAUL is “the worst thing is not the last thing.” This has power because we often feel as if the worst thing means life and hope for the future is all over.
When we stand at the death of a loved one, face the loss of relationship, endure illness, grapple with broken dreams, we can say to one another and ourselves that “the worst thing is not the last thing.” What was the worst thing that happened to you this year, this month or this week? “The worst thing is not the last thing.”
What does this mean for our life now? It gives me hope and courage that God is in the midst of things. It reminds me to open the eyes of my heart to watch for Jesus now. It encourages me like the words of angels to Fear Not. I will not be crushed or destroyed by this. We have hope because God has more ahead for us.
When I was in college I thought doing well in school would make me a good employee and lead to a good job. That was my basic focus. Once I had a job, I began to wonder what else there was to life. I wanted to get married and was discouraged by the many broken or unsatisfying marriages around me. I had not really thought about the meaning or purpose of life.
If we focus on just this world and physical life, our goals will be around making the most of this physical body, worldly resources and time on earth. We may seek to leave some legacy after us. Yet, we know that all physical things have a limited life. Our worldly values tell us to guard ourselves and our things. Our physical death is the end of it all.
If we focus on a future heavenly home, it changes our worldly values to kingdom values and perspective. Following Jesus can include suffering and that is not the end. We will die physically and that is not the end. Do we spend our lives focused on the things of this world (money, comforts, status, power) or God’s kingdom (humility, service, reaching the lost, welcoming the outcast)?
Who is this Jesus, the resurrected one, that we follow? In May, we will start a preaching series, Jesus Says, I Am. John, Jesus’ cousin, writes of Jesus saying “I am…” as he teaches his followers. We will focus on who Jesus says he is and what that means for us today. Who are we because of who Jesus is?
He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!