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Autumn Foliage

“That you may have Life and have it abundantly!”

The promise of resurrection is the truth that most excites me about the Christian mes- sage. That old patterns, addictions, destructive decisions, habits that diminish, systems that oppress are not the last word. They are overcome by grace! It is the good news; that restoration, reconciliation, renewal, and redemption are the work of God’s all-surpassing, unconditional Love! Broken relationships are healed and strengthened; hopes squashed by crisis and chaos find new life; New opportunities are discovered and chanced when no way was thought possible. These are the experiences of resurrection we can come to know, celebrate and live into!

Many folks responded to last month’s corner and said they appreciated some background and definition to Lent and its season. So, let’s do a bit of that for Easter. The Easter Season is also known as the Great Fifty Days. It begins at sundown on Easter eve and continues through the Day of Pentecost. It’s always good to remember that while Lent is such an Important season in preparation for Easter, it’s only 40 days while Easter is the “Great Fifty days”! Easter isn’t a “day”, it’s a new way of living! A few Easters ago I made up a wonderful word: “Easterishingly”. The suffix “ish” means; “in the manner of” or “having the characteristics of”. In like way, we should live in the manner of resurrection. Our lives should express (show the characteristics of) New Life! The suffix “ing” means “expressing the action of”. One is doing the that which has the “ing” on the end of the word. We need to be doing the actions of resurrection: Healing, restoring, uplifting, renewing! The work of Easter is always needed. We are always called to the work of New and Abundant Life! The suffix “ly” means to “resemble in appearance”. As disciples we seek to imitate the life and ways of Jesus. May that be true of our daily lives. Martin Luther said all disciples are “little

Christs”. As a follower of Jesus, we hope our lives resemble Christ’s. We should encourage one another to live in an “Easter-ish-ing-ly” way.

Easter is the most joyous and celebrative season of the Christian Year! It focuses on Christ’s resurrection and ascension, also on the giving of the Holy spirit on the first Easter (John 20:22-23) and the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). On the Sundays in Easter, we replace the Old Testament reading with one from the Acts of the Apostles because the early church, empowered by the Holy Spirit, is the best witness the Resurrection. The ancient Christian name for this festival is Pauch, derived from the Hebrew pesah (“deliverance” or “passover”), this connects the Resurrection to the Exodus. The origin of the English word Easter is disputed but may come from the Anglo-Saxon spring goddess Eastra and her festival.

May this Easter Sunday and the full Easter season be a time of praise, joy, thankfulness, empowerment, reconciliation, renewal, and the experience of New Life – for that is what it is. Our old lives are overcome and gone! Behold, new life, new opportunities! May the security of the Truth of God’s unconditional, unlimited, all-sufficient love blossom in your hearts and come alive in the lives of you, your families and loved ones, and us a congregation - as we live into the glory and triumph of Easter morning (and beyond)!

Be God’s, Pastor Jim

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