Pastor's Letter - March 2016

Dear Friends,
May the Lord bless you and keep you. We are in the middle of Lent and I hope you are finding meaning by setting aside some time every day to perhaps meditate, or pray, or read the Bible or find another activity that brings you closer to God. My wife has taken on the exercising each morning for about ½ hour to give her more strength to do her work with joy and she is also reading the Bible. I am taking some time each day to read the Bible and study commentaries on passages that I find challenging. Hopefully many of you got the Lenten devotional that the church gave out. It gives you a wonderful opportunity to explore your own spiritual life and deepen your relationship with the one who created us and came to be with us in human form.
Lent is a time of preparation for the events of Holy Week. Lent ends on the Saturday before Palm Sunday. It would seem that it ends on quite the high note with shouts of “Hosanna to the Son of David.” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Hosanna literally means, “I beg you to save!” or “please deliver us!” The people of Jerusalem were tired of Roman occupation and the poverty that the city was starting to experience as the Romans placed heavy taxes on the people. They wanted Jesus to run the Romans out of town and they were overjoyed when they thought that is what he meant to do. Of course within just a few days – they discovered that is not what he would do. Jesus came to call us back to God, to bring a profound message of compassion for all people. He had spoken up about the unjust system that Israel was living under with the Romans, but in the end he was set on bringing God’s kingdom into every person’s heart. As the crowds came to understand that Jesus would not fix their problems, they got angry and demanded that he be crucified.
Like the crowds in Jesus’ day don’t we also want someone who will straighten out all our problems? If we listen to our candidates who are running for office they are making innumerable promises of how they will straighten out the mess that many of us perceive our country is in. But it seems to be common knowledge that those who get elected don’t deliver on their promises and it’s hard to tell if they ever meant to.
Jesus came with a vision of a new way for all people to live. He painted a vision of compassion and care for all people. He told us that God’s love is never ending and through that love we can learn to forgive and even love our enemies. Jesus brought a message of hope, but it was also a message that called for all people to change, to become something and someone new. He asked us to imitate him and become like him as best we can. Ultimately the people in Jerusalem did not like that idea and I don't think we do either. We
want someone to straighten things out for us and do it the way we like it. The problem is that each group in our country wants something different – so there is no way to find a common solution unless we work together, unless we find value and possibility in every single person. Jesus did, he found so much value in you and in me that he laid his life down for us. And on the third day God raised him from the dead. Let us become resurrection people, living our lives, not asking what someone else might do for us, but what we can do for others.
In Christ’s Love,
Pastor Eric