A Message from Pastor Matt

April 6, 2018

Church News

Dear St. Paul’s Family,

Mahatma Gandhi was the pioneer of non-violent civil disobedience.  His work helped to bring about a bloodless revolution for Indian independence.  Gandhi, was a Hindu, but he also took time to study other world religions.  He was especially moved by Jesus Christ.  Speaking of Jesus, Gandhi once said, “A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act”

The horrible events of Good Friday bring into sharp focus Jesus’ great sacrifice.  There have been many books written, movies produced, and dramas preformed that have focused on the suffering of Christ.  Like many of you, I’ve found Jesus’ suffering to be moving and faith-forming.  However, as Easter people, the emphasis of our faith should not be on torture and death, but on the gift of life.

Think of it this way:  Perhaps the suffering of Jesus is not best viewed through the lenses of Good Friday, but through Easter lenses.  A post-resurrection view focuses on the great gift that God gives us on Good Friday, not on the gratuitous violence of Jesus’ last hours.  We should not be moved as much by Jesus’ torture as by God’s great gift of love and life.  Through Jesus Christ, God chose a different kind of narrative by which the world will work.  No longer does might make right, or absolute power make a ruler, but that true strength is perfected in weakness and the seeds of life are deeply planted in the dark, cold soil of death.

Any farmer, parent, or teacher can bear witness to the gentle power of persistent love.  Gentleness plants and cares for the seed that will bear a crop.  Love chooses the hushed tones of a mother’s voice consoling a cranky toddler over the angry, impatient pleas for silent obedience.  Love and gentleness co-mingle as a teacher patiently teaches any given child any new thing at any given point in time during the day.

God chooses love and gentleness in-spite of humanity’s desire to do otherwise.  Jesus didn’t suffer and die because God chose for him to be tortured.  Humanity did that to Jesus.  God chooses life, and in the greatest act of loving gentleness, God shattered the power of sin and death by giving Jesus new life.

The power of the resurrection is not just for Jesus.  Christ’s resurrection is for us.  The question that we must consider is not whether God will grant us new life–God already has, but if we will embrace the love and gentleness that can grant others everlasting life.  Can you extend love and grace so that another person may experience a restoration to abundant life?

Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  Christ is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

May God bless you as you live the new life that Christ has made possible for you.  May others feast on the new life that you share through Christ’s resurrection.

Blessings,

Pastor Matt

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