On Sunday, May 19, we honored our high school graduates Jared Eischeid (not pictured), Alec Jensen, and Elise Jensen. We are also excited to receive six new members of MotleyUMC: Larry & Shirley Godejohn, Les & Elaine Rogers, and Tom & Sharla Trutwin! See photos in the file below:
Happy Easter to you all, and yes, it is still Easter.
9 God said, “Let the waters under the sky come together into one place so that the dry land can appear.” And that’s what happened. 10 God named the dry land Earth, and he named the gathered waters Seas. God saw how good it was. 11 God said, “Let the earth grow plant life: plants yielding seeds and fruit trees bearing fruit with seeds inside it, each according to its kind throughout the earth.” And that’s what happened.12 The earth produced plant life: plants yielding seeds, each according to its kind, and trees bearing fruit with seeds inside it, each according to its kind. God saw how good it was. (Genesis 1:9-12; CEB)
May has always been this month of transformation for myself. The school year is ending, the teachers and students become restless as they watch out the window and feel the warm rays of sunshine gleaming through the glass of their classroom, waiting for the bell to ring. The grass begins to become greener. The birds chirp loudly as they come back to their summer homes. Yes, nature is one of God’s greatest creations, isn’t it?
When I think of nature, I also think of Jesus’ time on earth after his resurrection. We all know that during this time, before he ascended, that many people saw him. Mary Magdalene was the first, then three more women, the disciples minus Thomas, a group of 500, and so on. It is this time that Jesus spent with the people that gave us the realization that resurrection is possible, that the world and its people can be made new again.
The reason that I mention this is because seeing Jesus in our lives in important, see a loving God in our lives is also important. What is also important is taking care of what God has given us, like this glorious place to live. The world was created for us to live in and for us to take care of. We watch our families grow, and we all hope that the planet is safe and prosperous for the generations following us.
As we worship our resurrected Christ over the next month, let us also remember that each spring our world is resurrected to give us what we need to live, our food to eat, and our water to drink. And I hope that as you look out your windows, and watch the buds begin forming on your trees. Or as you get ready to plant your gardens, that you all understand why we are here. And I believe that is to proclaim a resurrected Christ and a God who provides for each one of us.
So, I ask you to all begin looking for God in your lives today and begin proclaiming the goodness that we see and feel each day. Remember “God saw how good it was.”
As I sit down to write this letter, I want to continue to uplift the United Methodist Church. I know there are some of you who agree with the rulings of the General Conference and then there are some of you who have been deeply hurt. As I ponder the future of the church, I also ponder my future and the direction that God is calling me. I just look at it as another challenge (why not?)
If you are paying any attention to the movement of the Minnesota Annual Conference, there is a large group of pastors and laity who have started a movement called Minnesota Methodist, of which I am a part. This group is in the grass-roots stage of developing a plan to move forward as an open, loving, and reconciling church, which I support fully. If you want to support this movement, there is a web address where you can sign the letter of support, https://www.minnesotamethodist.org/.
All this has brought me to the Lenten and Easter season, a season of sacrifice and a season of resurrection.
When was that last time you sat down and really thought about both of these seasons?
Do you live them fully?
Easter and resurrection to me are not just about the Risen Christ but about how we live into the Risen Christ. By this I mean how are we looking at the resurrection and living it fully?
When Jesus was resurrected, He appeared 12 different times, was seen by over 500 people in the 40 days he spent on Earth. Out of these 40 days, a religion grew from the stories of the people who saw him. The disciples even had a dramatic change in their heart and lives. This change was so radical that the cowardliness that they showed turned to confidence. So much confidence, in fact, that they spread out all over the known world and died preaching and proclaiming a Risen Christ.
Today is different than 2000 years ago, and I get that. But, when we talk about the resurrection of the Christ, it is not just about His death and rising; it should be about His story. The resurrection teaches us something about being followers. It tells us that Jesus’ death did not have the last word. It is Jesus’ story and his followers proclaiming that story that raises his body up into a new body.
To close, what I am saying is this: through resurrection, something new can come out of it. If it is the church splitting and going different directions, that is resurrection. If it is the church staying together and living under a large “tent,” but with a new vision, this is also resurrection.
We need to raise up what Jesus has done for us as a church and for us personally. And begin moving forward, living a new life in a Risen Christ.