I think it’s time for one of us pastors to be frank: the story of Jesus dying on the cross somehow making us immortal is a bit weird.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where I serve as rector, this year is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding.
After doctors, nurses and staff, perhaps pastors make the most visits to hospitals.
You don’t have to be much of a Bible reader to realize that, in the Gospels, there is not just one account of the Resurrection. On Easter Sunday, we might hear the story about the women going to the tomb and their not telling anyone, or about Mary Magdalene suddenly recognizing a resurrected Jesus.
“Give me liberty, or give me death.” These are the most famous words of Patrick Henry.
God bless America. It might seem to some like an easy statement to make, and for many years, I think most every American could easily say it and feel good about saying it.
One day a farmer told his wife that he would be going out to plow in the field the next day. He got up early in the morning so he could service the tractor. He needed more oil, so he went to the shop to get it. On the way to the shop he noticed the chickens weren’t fed. So he proceeded to the granary, where he found some sacks of feed.
Growing up as a child I had two fathers, a biological father and a foster father. My mother died two days after I was born, and because I was a twin, my brother and I desperately needed someone to take care of us while my father worked, and we were placed in the home of friends. This arrangement was supposed to last a few weeks until my father could get things sorted out, but it lasted until I graduated from high school.
“... And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” — Ephesians 2:6 In our modern day efforts to make the Gospel palatable, inclusive and relevant, we have shortchanged ourselves of the holiness and majesty of God, particularly in the area of music. That which from old time went before the battle and ushered in the presence of the Lord (II Chronicles 5:13; 20:21) now has itself become the battle, even repelling the very presence of the Holy Spirit in the church.
Cattle guards. We had a cattle guard at our driveway entrance when I was growing up. My foot got caught in it a few times when I wasn’t paying attention. Our cow wouldn’t cross over the grate, but she had no problem pushing over the split-rail fence in her pasture to go see other cows down the street.
Virginia and I arrived in a little Washington “dam town” for our first mission pastorate in midsummer 1954. In just two weeks, we were fully occupied with our first Vacation Bible School. Daily we packed 90 kids into a small storefront building.
God’s amazing grace — His generous forgiveness — is offered to all who believe in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross. Being a gift, it cannot be earned or purchased. According to the Apostle Paul, “by grae you have been saved through faith ... it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8)
A mother writes to Dear Abby about her mentally ill son, who is becoming more dangerous and controlling. She fears leaving her house. Friends and therapists have told her she must put her son in an institution, but she is reluctant. Her letter is an indication that she’d like a different answer. Abby gives her the same advice: “Institutionalize your son.”
Today many Walla Walla people of faith celebrate Easter and Passover. All of us reflect on our relationship with God the Creator, deepening our memory of how we are connected to that source of life and godliness, and looking ahead to how that memory can strengthen us in the coming months.
A mother whose son fell through the ice and drowned does not soon write a song. She does not smile sweetly at a surviving child when her soul is wracked with grief. She may reach for her other child’s hand, but she is not pretending a strength she does not own. A man whose wife died of pneumonia cannot sing at her funeral.
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