Dear friends and members of Resurrection Lutheran,
The forty-day journey of Lent is nearly over. When last I wrote to you, my challenge was to let die what needed to die in your life and let be born what needed to be born.
So where are you? What is changing? Where are we? What is being re-formed?
For many of us, the Covid-19 vaccine has begun to return our lives to “normal”. We are able to be near those we love without fear of making one another ill. When your turn comes to receive the vaccine, I encourage you to do it for the good of all of us.
This Lent, five of our members have shared their stories on Sunday mornings regarding their journeys with particular mental disorders. They have encouraged all of us by their words and brave example to bring into the light the things we hide in the darkness. There need be no shame in mental illness. In this community of faith, we are called to support and love one another. No judgment on another's journey.
The church is preparing to celebrate Easter: the unexpected gift of resurrection following death. This year as I prepare to share the story of Easter, I am aware of the 540,000 people in this country who have died due to the pandemic. The collective grief is heavy. I don't want to speak glibly in the face of this loss.
As I write this, seven mass shootings have happened in this country in the past seven days. 10 dead in Boulder, 6 dead in Atlanta. Scores of others wounded in many ways across this country. Hatred of “the other” on full display.
In our words and actions, we continue to be death-dealing rather than life-giving to one another. It would seem there is more in us that needs to die in order that more in us can be born.
If our celebration of Easter is to be anything more than simply another liturgical observance, we need to live as if Christ died for each person we meet. Each person must matter. African American lives must matter. Asian American lives must matter. LGBTQ lives must matter. Mexican lives must matter. Muslim lives must matter. White-Supremacist lives must matter.
If any are left out, our vision of resurrection is too small.
It hurts me to imagine such a world: it is so vastly different from the one in which we live.
Yet as a person who trusts that God's vision for the world is the vision that matters, that God speaks a word of life and it conquers death, I must step out over and over again in faith and make decisions based on that vision.
My fear of speaking up for those being put down needs to die so that courage can be born. My weariness at how large and how many the problems are needs to die so that a step forward can be born. I (we?) need to let resurrection become the reality that guides my life, not death. Then fear vanishes and hope is born.
Those are my musings as I near the end of this 2021 Lenten journey. I hope for Easter. I hope.
From the grave I say with my ancestors in the faith, “He is not here, for he is risen!”
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Copyright 2023. Resurrection Lutheran Church, New Berlin, WI
RESURRECTION LUTHERAN CHURCH
Rev. Steve Rutter, Pastor
Julie Johnson, Worship Music Coordinator
Steph Albert, Worship Music
Larry Gnatzig, Office Administration
12400 West Coldspring Road
New Berlin, Wisconsin 53151