Celebrate Life and Renewal

Well, Northminster, we made it to April. We knew we’d make it, of course, but I know that people around the country have been counting the days this Winter. There were times when we felt trapped inside, times the winds howled and we weren’t certain we could get there, time when the cold wind made both work and play miserable. Times when we thought that it would never end.

But we’ve seen some signs. Signs that it’s getting warmer, snow melting an inch at a time on some days, a whole foot on others. Green poking bits by bit in our flower beds and backyards with the promise of vibrant colors to come. The well-watered grass is soaking in the sun and shifting from hollow brown to pale yellow to light green. And the winter wheat, nourished by the moisture, is gently green back to the countryside. Spring is coming, slowly but surely, back to Kansas City.

This is the idea behind Lent, of course…especially a Lent that comes as later as this year’s version. Ash Wednesday closed out in the dark with those solemn words, “You are dust, and to dust you shall return.” On Sundays we have considered the hard, righteous work of forgiveness and the comfort and challenge that pours from that work. On Tuesday mornings and Wednesday evenings, we have considered God’s urgent call of new life, considered the practices of faith, and brought our joys and concerns to God as part of walking this journey of Lent. On Maundy Thursday we will remember Christ’s command for us to remember to love. On Good Friday will will approach the cross and consider the depths of that transforming, selfless love. We will remember those days when Earth thought that death had won. We will remember those three days darkness when the followers of Christ asked that familiar question of faith: “How Long?”

But then Sunday will come…and we will celebrate new life again. We will celebrate the growth and new beginnings God offers in Christ. We will celebrate God working in and through us to show love, grace, hope, and light to the world. We will proclaim Hallelujahs and thank God because death, pain, and suffering have been defeated. We will celebrate a gift given to us and to the world.

In prayer, assistance, mission, and service…I encourage you to consider how Easter can nudge us toward living out this perseverant hope. God is calling you…and all of us…to be a sign, a demonstration of renewal, growth, life, and light. God is calling us all, as individuals and as a church, to be signs of spring. God calls us to show our community and world that the thaw has begun, that the seemingly endless winter some of our neighbors and friends are enduring daily has an end point. We are called to point to a new life as certain as Spring…a living of the promises, grace, and calling of the empty tomb.

And, I know, we may get a surprise April snow. There will be times when we wonder if, maybe, Winter just might prevail. But with every sunny, warm day, we gain confidence. With every sign, we embrace the certainty that Winter’s cold will be short-lived. There is a momentum, and inevitability in spring…and each warm day, each budding flower, each farmer out planting, builds a powerful testimony to the warmth to come. That, simply put, is our call this Easter season. We are called to a bold, obvious act of faith; to testify to the abundant life to come.

In Christ,