Greetings in Christ!
I pray you’ve stayed safe and warm amidst this harsh winter weather. Despite the frigid, snowbound landscape, this season also reminds us of our love for spring and the life it brings. The dormant plants will rise to new life. The hibernating animals will wake to a new day. The imagery of God’s resurrection appears throughout creation. Thank God for that warm reminder in these chilly days.
+ Pastor Andrew is out of town Tuesday afternoon-Saturday evening at the ELCA Mission Redevelopers Conference. He is available by phone throughout that time.
+ The office is closed this Friday while both Matt and Pastor Andrew are away.
+ Across the Spectrum is this Sunday at 3pm in the Fellowship Hall.
+ This week’s Lenten service is 7pm Sunday at St. Jude Roman Catholic Church.
+ We continue to collect items for Lutheran World Relief Health Kits during Lent, including toothbrushes, nail clippers, bath-sized bar soap, combs, and bath towels.
Jesus brings some harsh truth in this Sunday’s Gospel reading. He says, “Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." These words come in response to Peter’s denial that Jesus should suffer the work of the cross.
But within this, there’s a deep honesty about our faith. What good is an eternity with God if we don’t want to live with God right now? What good is heaven on earth when we ignore the movements of God’s kingdom in this place? If we deny God haven’t we already indicated how we feel about God’s future?
In the words of C.S. Lewis, “the door to hell locks from the inside.” Said another way, God remains open to offer grace and mercy to us, but if we constantly refuse the kind of grace God offers, then we design for ourselves an eternity without God. If we, like Peter, deny the work of the cross, then we deny the God of the cross.
The good news is that, though we don’t understand or comprehend the work of the cross, God remains committed to that work of grace. Despite our doubts and confusions, Jesus’ arms are open on the cross to embrace us all, deeply hoping that we all might embrace him.
Grace and peace,
Pastor Andrew Tucker
Greetings in Christ!
It’s the last week of the Epiphany season! That means Transfiguration Sunday is this week, with Ash Wednesday just nine days away. As we enter this holy time, remember that the call to penitence is not about self-loathing, but rather about appreciating the work of God to save us from the brokenness of this world, marred by our sin.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he reminds the church that God, “made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” Light plays a significant theme in the development of our faith. God’s light shines in the darkness, and darkness cannot overcome it. Upon a mountain, God’s light makes Jesus radiate, pulsing with divine energy. As his followers, Christ gives us the commission to become “The Light of the World,” an identity close to his own heart.
In this imagery, light is about illumination. God’s light shining in our hearts illuminates to us Jesus’ identity as the God of Israel. God’s light shining in our hearts illuminates to us the roles we have to play as coworkers in God’s kingdom. In Jesus, we see God’s purpose of revelation, of revealing to all creation the good will of the Creator. A will of redemption. A will of reconciliation. A will of love. That is the light that shines in our hearts and helps us to see Christ.
Grace and Peace,
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